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Blue plaque honouring Britain’s first black olympian unveiled

  • May 11, 2023
  • 2 min read
Blue plaque honouring Britain’s first black olympian unveiled

Britain’s first Black Olympian, Louis Bruce has been immortalised with a blue plaque at his former home in Hammersmith. The historical marker was unveiled at 7 St Peter’s Grove on Tuesday (25 April) by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the Nubian Jak Community Trust in a celebration that was also attended by pupils from Wormholt Park Primary School, local residents, history and sports fans.

“Louis was a sporting pioneer who helped pave the way for British athletes competing at every level,” said Cllr Sharon Holder, H&F Cabinet Member for Public Realm, who unveiled the plaque. “His involvement in the 1908 Olympic games would have been an inspiration to so many and it is only right that we recognise his impact by memorialising his achievements with a blue plaque.”

Louis represented Great Britain at the 1908 Olympic Games in London, which were held in Shepherds Bush’s The Great Stadium, becoming the first Black Olympian to represent the country. He competed as a heavyweight wrestler during the Olympics and, at 32 years old, was the oldest competitor in his sport. Despite this, Louis placed fifth overall and advanced to the 73kg freestyle round. He resided in St. Peter’s Grove, less than a mile away, and trained at the Hammersmith Amateur Wrestling Club in Cambridge Road.

“Every day we are learning more and more about Britain’s rich and diverse past,” Dr Jak Beula, CEO of the Nubian Jak Community Trust said. “To that we can add the name of Louis Bruce who was representing Britain in Olympic competition 40 years before the arrival of the Windrush.”

 

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