Boxer Randolph Turpin at Gwrych Castle Abergele 1950s

Boxer Randolph Turpin lived at Gwrych Castle Abergele in the early 1950s whilst preparing for his  fight against Sugar Ray Robinson.

Turpin met his second wife Gwyneth (née Price, 1925-1992) the daughter of a Welsh farmer whilst training for the Robinson fight at Gwrych Castle. They married in 1953 and had four daughters, Gwyneth, Annette, Charmaine and Carmen.

Randolph Turpin in 1951
Randolph Turpin in 1951

Here’s a British Movietone 30″ video clip of his triumphant return to north Wales after beating Sugar Ray :

He was born in Leamington in 1928 to a black Guyanan father and white English mother at a time when there were almost no people of mixed race in the country.

When European champion, Turpin won the world title after beating the legendary Robinson, widely regarded as pound-for-pound the greatest fighter in history, on a 15-round decision at Earls Court in July 10, 1951.

Randolph Turpin famously trained at Gwyrch Castle in Abergele in the summer of 1951 when preparing for his contests against the seemingly invincible Sugar Ray Robinson. The training sessions were always attended by hundreds of fans and tourists.

He became an instant celebrity and, for a brief period, spent each day being mobbed by fans at his Abergele training base at Gwrych Castle.

Laater in his career, he bought a pub on the summit of the Great Orme , Llandudno, which today keeps some artefacts from his boxing career. He was the registered licensee of that pub between 1952 – 1961.

According to articles, reports and a biography, Turpin couldn’t deal with the obscurity resulting from the loss of his crown. After being declared bankrupt , Turpin shot himself dead in May 1966.

It was a tragic end for a man linked with Abergele who did so much for British sport, for British Black History, and whose achievements as a boxer will never be forgotten.

Despite his life’s tragic ending, one-time Abergele resident Turpin had briefly been one of the most famous men in Britain and an inspiration for many ethnic minorities.

Turpin was inducted as a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2001. There is a statue of him in Market Square, Warwick.

7 thoughts on “Boxer Randolph Turpin at Gwrych Castle Abergele 1950s

  1. John Bulkeley:

    I was at Abergele Grammar School between 1951 and 1956 when I left to go to sea as a Merchant Navy Cadet. Randolph Turpin was well known around town

    1. Kenneth Davies:

      I remember you from Grammar School, a long time ago! I was there from 1952 until1957. I remember going along with my father to watch Randolph Turpin train, somewhere I have his autograph, also remember meeting one of his brothers and watching another boxer-Bruce Woodcock, in action at Gwrych Castle.

  2. Norman Burslem:

    Ivor Morgan, John Bowen and I used to take exercise runs around the grounds of Gwrych Castle at the time Randolph Turpin was training there. One day a visitor asked for our autographs; she thought we were the boxers training partners. I still smile about it.

  3. John Morris:

    We had come from Nottingham to camp in Abergele with the Boys Bridgage and we went to the castle and met Randolph Turpin,shook his hand and got his autograph,I was 12 years old

  4. Malcolm Langford:

    I have a vivid memory of my father Sam Langford (same name as another boxer) shaking hands with a black man wearing shorts. My father was very reserved and it must have impressed me to see him so happy because I was only three years old . He also took a tumble down a granite staircase . He often in later years used to talk about his meeting with Randolph Turpin .

  5. David Lloyd:

    I saw Randolph Turpin at Gwrych castle in the early 1950s. The man who ran the castle owed money to my father, so my father took our family there on a coach tour (which included a stop at the castle) and he hoped to get payment of the debt. However, on arrival the man who owed my father money quickly disappeared and poor Dad never got paid. But we boys did see Randolph Turpin although we never got his autograph..

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