Lonsdale Belt takes centre stage at exhibition

Lonsdale Belt takes centre stage at exhibition

AN EXHIBITION about the ‘Yellow Earl’ of Lonsdale has been boosted by a unique star attraction.

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The Beacon Museum in Whitehaven has been hosting the exhibition, which charts the extravagant lifestyle of Hugh Cecil Lowther – known as The Yellow Earl because of his fondness for the colour.

Among other achievements, the fifth Earl of Lonsdale helped create the modern sport of boxing – formulating rules, regulating the sport and donating the first Lonsdale Belt, versions of which are still awarded today.

And now, Beacon Museum visitors can see an authentic, brand new Lonsdale Belt – one of the sport’s most coveted prizes. It has been commissioned and loaned to the museum by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC), and belt manufacturers Fattorini.

The BBBofC has confirmed that the belt will be awarded in a future championship fight, but is yet to confirm which one.

The Beacon Museum’s Customer and Visitor Experience Manager, Heather Holmes, said: “We are extremely excited about this historic addition to the Hugh Cecil Lowther exhibition. Lonsdale Belts are of course among the biggest prizes in British boxing, and this is a rare chance to see a real one up close.

“The Yellow Earl was an adventurer and philanthropist, but his contribution to boxing is one of his longest-lived legacies. He helped establish the BBBofC and, to this day, a portrait of his face adorns every belt awarded by the body. It’s really appropriate that this highly important item be a part of the Earl’s story, and we’re very grateful for its loan.”

Hugh Cecil Lowther, Fifth Earl of Lonsdale, owned much of Whitehaven and its coalfields, as well as assets around the country, but is said to have lived an extravagant lifestyle and spent the family fortune by the time he died in 1944.

The exhibition covers the extraordinary highs and lows of his unusual life.

It includes lots to do for children and families – igloo-making workshops (the Earl visited Alaska and claimed to have reached the North Pole), circus skills (he joined the circus as a young man), Wii boxing and dressing up – as well as all the museum’s normal array of hands-on exhibits and fun activities.

‘The Yellow Earl – the Life of Hugh Cecil Lowther’ runs until June 26. Following that, the Lonsdale Belt will remain on display in the museum’s foyer until September. To book a visit to the museum, or find out more, visit www.thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk, or call 01946 592302.

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