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Peter Banasko – one of the true greats

30 October 2017 by Sarah

Peter Banasko. Courtesy of the Banasko family

Today we have a guest blog by Peter Banasko. He is writing about his father, also called Peter Banasko – a Liverpool lad who became a world-class boxer and was asked to fight before the Prince of Wales, Prince George and Lord Lonsdale. He later became an incredibly successful coach and manager. However, Peter also grew up during the era of the Colour Bar and this blog highlights the prejudices he faced. It is a fascinating local and community history and we wanted to run it during Black History Month. With thanks to the Banasko family for submitting it to us:

Peter Emmanuel Banasko 1915-1993

“Peter Banasko was born and grew up in Liverpool. He was the only child of a mixed marriage. His father, Isaac Immanuel Banasko came from the Gold Coast, Ghana. His mother Lillian Banasko, nee Doyle, came from Liverpool.

“He was named in the birthday celebration of 800 people who put Liverpool on the map. (Liverpool Echo 28/08/2007)

“He attended St. Malachy’s School and started his amateur boxing in 1929 at the famous St. Malachy’s boxing gym. By the time he was 14 he had participated in over 100 fights. At the age of 13, having over 40 undefeated contests to his credit, he claimed the distinction of being the first Liverpool boxer to bring home to Liverpool a British Title by becoming the schoolboy champion of Great Britain in 1929 and again in 1930.

“He was invited to box before the Prince of Wales, Prince George and Lord Lonsdale.

Peter Banasko coaching. Courtesy of the Banasko family.

“At 17 he turned professional under the management of the Liverpool Stadium Promoter, Johnny Best Senior.

“Some said he was the best of the best but unfortunately for Banasko he fought during the era of the infamous ‘Colour Bar’ that forbade any non-white fighter from contesting for a national title. Again this vicious prejudice was evidenced in his marriage to Margaret McNerney, a Liverpool girl. A 300 signature petition was actioned to try and stop this marriage; it was unsuccessful.

“He was the first black manager/trainer in Liverpool, indeed in the UK. He was a friend of Douglas Collister (United Africa Co.) and also Jack Farnsworth (British West Africa CO). Because of this by the early 1950s Banasko and Liverpool were a household names in Lagos.

“His reputation as an excellent manager spread to the Gold Coast.

“According to the boxing purists at that time the black boxers fought in a distinct ‘unscientific’ style; they failed to master ‘the noble art’. However, their performances in the ring soon shattered these stereotypes. Banasko was a contributing factor in this change of opinion. When opposing boxers where facing the ‘Banasko camp’ it was not the boxer they feared but Banasko because of his knowledge and expertise.

“Banasko gained the rank of sergeant with the Royal Berkshire Regiment. His request for a commission was turned down. He was advised he would stand a better chance of a commission if he joined the Indian Army!

“This prejudice came up again when Hogan Kid Bassey won the British Empire Featherweight title. He told Banasko in the dressing room after the fight that he wanted a change of manager. Bassey had been convinced that he would not get any further in his career under a black manager. Banasko, disgusted with this prejudice and gutted by Bassey’s disloyalty, parted from the sport he loved.

“Ian Hargraves in his article in the Liverpool Echo (November 30th 1993) ‘Salute to boxing’s unsung hero’ on his death in November 1993 summed it up completely by stating:

Peter Banasko… a rare talent – one of the true greats’ “.

Peter Banasko and the boxers he coached to success. Courtesy of Banasko family.

 

If you enjoyed this blog, you might be interested in our Black History Month events throughout October.

 

Sankofa news

24 July 2017 by Laura

Women on a stall

The team were at Africa Oye in June, spreading word about the project

Project Curator, Mitty Ramagavigan updates us on the latest news from the Sankofa project: Read more…

Heritage Lottery Fund success for Galkoff’s project

18 July 2017 by Laura

Shop front

The Galkoff business opened around 1908, and the amazing tiles were added in 1933

Today, along with our partner Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), we are sharing the extremely exciting news that Galkoff’s and the Secret Life of Pembroke Place has been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Thanks to National Lottery players £291,300 will support the next stage of the project which aims to protect and preserve the iconic tiled frontage of Galkoff’s and explore and the last remaining example of Liverpool court housing, situated nearby.

The gorgeous green tiles of Galkoff’s will be known to anyone who has lived or worked in the London Road area, or just passes through on that busy route into town. With the funding announcement today the project aims to carefully remove and conserve the historic tiles from the shop’s façade and recreate it within Museum of Liverpool, protecting it for future generations. We are also looking to use this great opportunity to work with Liverpool’s Jewish community, unlocking memories of Galkoff’s and build up a better picture of the city’s Jewish history.  Read more…

Felix Scott: a Victorian life

11 May 2017 by Liz

Clockwise from left: Felix Scott’s Royal Navy Record of service (source: the National Archives); HMS Charybdis, 1870; HMS Tamar, c1880

Today we have a guest blog from Jamie Calladine, a volunteer researcher working with us on the Galkoff’s and Secret Life of Pembroke Place project. Read more…

Remembering the Liverpool Carters

10 May 2017 by Sharon

Child with sculpture

Anthony, the great-grandson of Liverpool carter, Cornelius Hart contemplates the May Day decorations he helped to make.

On Saturday 6th May 2017 we held our annual ‘Remembering the Liverpool Carters’ event at Museum of Liverpool. We were overwhelmed by the number of visitors who turned up to listen to talks and join in with our flower-making activities. Read more…

Walton Child Star – A life less ordinary

8 March 2017 by Kay

“She was extremely charismatic, headstrong and passionate”

Girl on stage

Josephine tap toe dancing on drum

Anne Hutchinson, 2016

For International Women’s Day we are featuring these wonderful items, which tell the story of local child star, Josephine Clitherow. They were recently kindly donated to the Museum of Liverpool by Anne, Josephine’s daughter.

Josephine was born in February 1916 and grew up in Walton, Liverpool.

Read more…

Galkoff’s and the Secret Life of Pembroke Place update

23 February 2017 by Laura

Tiled shop front with decorative hoarding

Galkoff’s butcher’s shop today – behind protective hoarding. Image courtesy of LSTM

The Galkoff’s and the Secret Life of Pembroke Place project team, along with 24 volunteers have been delving into the history of this well-known Liverpool Street. The focus has been on two key heritage sites: Galkoff’s Jewish butcher shop and Watkinson Terrace, Liverpool’s last surviving example of court housing. Read more…

Four funerals and a wedding

26 January 2017 by Liz

view of tightly packed city centre buildings

Aerial view of Pembroke Place c1930s © Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

An amazing team of volunteers have been delving into historic archives to reveal some of the secrets of Pembroke Place as part our current project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. And there are some very dark secrets indeed!

The annals of Liverpool reveal that the last ever duel fought in Liverpool took place in a field on the corner or Boundary Place and Pembroke Place on 20 December 1806. Major Brooks was killed by Colonel Bolton. It seems a year-long spat developed after Bolton had refused Brooks a pay rise in the regiment. Bolton eventually became fed up of insults being targeted at him and called Brooks to a duel. Read more…

Pembroke Place – read all about it!

13 December 2016 by Liz

pp-newspaper-headlines

Today we have a guest blog from Lucy Kilfoyle, a researcher in the History Department at the University of Liverpool. Lucy is leading a team of volunteers investigating historic newspapers as part of the Galkoff’s and Secret Life of Pembroke Place project.

‘Tragic accidents, grisly murders, heart-rending tales of good people fallen upon hard times: what’s not to like? At first glance, historical newspapers are not exactly the most glamorous of places to find human interest stories from the past. Invariably, old papers and journals are dull and faded and unrelentingly uniform in appearance. The font is often minute and the text packed densely together. Until well into the late 19th century, pictures and graphics were few and far between. Read more…

Yentl and Liverpool’s Jewish community film stars

11 October 2016 by Kay

women in period costume by the Liverpool waterfront

Leonie Bracey, Susan Urding, Hilary Glassman and Hillary Swerdlow in costume ready to appear as extras in a scene from Yentl

Our Reel Stories exhibition celebrates and explores films that are undeniably Liverpudlian and those that feature Liverpool as a world film location.

Did you know that scenes in 1983 Hollywood blockbuster Yentl, directed by and starring Barbra Streisand, were filmed on board an Isle of Man ferry on the River Mersey? Local resident Michael Swerdlow has recently contacted us about Liverpool’s Jewish community’s connection to the film and their brush with fame.  Read more…



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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.