Captain Tom Gundry, champion Cornish wrestler. Probably early 1880s
A studio portrait photograph of the champion Cornish wrestler, Thomas Gundry, wearing a wrestling jacket and two championship sashes. Gundry was born at Higher Prospidnick, Sithney, on 16th October 1818 and died at Stennack, Camborne, on 22nd October 1888. His obituary in the 'Mining Journal' of 27th October 1888 reads "Captain Tom Gundry is dead. This brief announcement will be read with regret by Cornishmen in every quarter of the world. 'Captain Tom' was the best known of the old school of Cornish wrestlers, and will be remembered for his prowess in the ring, and not as a mine agent. Born 70 years ago Captain Tom was bred in the parish of Sithney and from a child developed a strong passion for the favourite sport of the West Countryman. In the old days, wrestling was cultivated to a far higher degree than now; the leading gentlemen of the county, assisted by their patronage, presence, and financial support; and a match was the signal for an exodus of miners to witness the bouts. Captain Tom held the championship for a long period; he won many cups, and wrestled, not only in Cornwall and Devon; but in London also. It is said of him that whilst he unquestionably bought many 'backs', he never sold his own. He was at one time agent at Camborne Consols, and at another period agent at North Basset. Of late years he now and then assisted as stickler in the wrestling field. He expired at his home near Camborne, on Tuesday evening." He was married four times, the last at Treslothan, Camborne in May 1880. Photographer: John Charles Burrow.
© From the collection of the RIC
Richard Arthur (Dicky Nine Lives), Edwyn Vincent (1858–1919)
Oil on canvas, English School, 1887. Primitive style full length portrait of man in mining clothes with Pednandrea Mine in the background of the painting. Richard Arthur was known as 'Dicky Nine Lives', after falling down the inside of Pednandrea mine stack and surviving. He died in Penzance in June 1893, at the age of around 70. A report from Redruth in the Royal Cornwall Gazette on Thursday 15th June 1893 states: 'News has reached here from Penzance of the death of the well known character, Richard Arthur, generally known as "Dickey Nine Lives" by reason of numerous hairbreadth escapes, chief among which was a fall down the inside of Pednandrea stack. This wonderful man was well known to almost every person within a radius of 15 miles, and his marvellous exploits have formed the topic of many a Cornish yarn. With no settled residence or means of sustenance, he managed to exist with the occasional comfort of a "bit of bacca." When sometime ago it was rumoured that Dicky had suddenly inherited a large fortune, he was immediately addressed as Mr. Arthur, and for some reason consented to have his "picture taken" by a local photographer. This photo when exhibited caused considerable amusement, Dickey being taken in his usual attire. The fortune eventually turned out to be a hoax. It would hardly be possible to find in Cornwall a person whose life has to abounded in comical incidents, and a sharp literary aspirant would win immediate popularity by publishing a life of Dickey Nine Lives. Edwyn Vincent was publisher and printer of 'The Eagle' at the Printing Works Redruth. This painting may have been intended to illustrate an article in 'The Eagle'.