Today Bill Richmond is largely unknown to the wider public, but he was one of the most significant sportsmen in history and one of the most prominent celebrities of Georgian times. He also had a remarkable and fascinating connection to Alnwick Castle and Hugh Percy, the 2nd Duke of Northumberland.
Born into slavery in Staten Island, Richmond won his freedom as a young boy thanks to Percy's humanitarian intervention. The teenaged Richmond was brought to England by Percy and, under his mentor's patronage, was educated and then trained as a cabinet maker.
In his forties, Richmond threw his hat into the prize ring, becoming one of the most successful boxers in the country, as well as a renowned trainer. His amazing life encompassed encounters and relationships with some of the most prominent men of the age, including William Hazlitt, Lord Byron, the Prince Regent and Lord Camelford. Such was Richmond's fame that he fulfilled an official role at the coronation celebrations of King George IV in 1821.
Drawing on over a decade of research, including in the archives of Alnwick Castle, Luke G. Williams's talk will enable you to discover more about the amazing life of Bill Richmond and his unique relationship with Hugh Percy and the Alnwick estates.
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Luke G. Williams has been a journalist and writer for 17 years. Luke has worked as a full-time staff writer for uefa.com, sportal.com and euro2000.com, while his freelance work has been published in various outlets including The Independent, The Guardian, The Sunday Express, Boxing Monthly, The Peckham Peculiar, Snooker Scene and 007 Magazine.
Since its publication in August 2015, Richmond Unchained has earned widespread critical acclaim: Pulitzer Prize nominee Thomas Hauser has hailed the book as one of the best boxing-related books ever written, while Donald McRae, twice winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, described it as "epic ... amazingly researched ... a treat."