Culture and Entertainment

Brecon Gymnasium

This photograph from 1892 shows some female members of Brecon Gymnasium with their instructor, Mr Hawthorn. Mr Hawthorn had moved from London to Brecon in 1888 where he took up duties as instructor to the gymnasium. A keen cyclist, he took part in a cycle race from Abergavenny to Brecon - a distance of 20 miles which he completed in 1 hour 23 minutes on hard cycle tyres.

Some of the girls on the photograph were named: Misses C Evans, E Price, E A Bodman, M Davies, M Evans, A T Thomas, M L Lewis and G Evans.

Eight of the senior girls performed exercises on the single and double bar bell as part of the display they gave.

Look Before You Leap
Members of Brecon Gymnasium, 1892
Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery

The male members of the Gymnasium were mentioned in the Brecon and Radnor Express in 1891:

Gymnastic Competitions at Brecon
Gymnastic Competitions at Brecon
Brecon & Radnor Express

Llandrindod Wells Library


On Friday evening last, at the Gymnasium, Llanfaes, competitions took place - the first since the start of the institution - in the presence of numerous spectators. Mr Percy Morton and Mr. F. A. L. Kitchen were judges. The competitions, which were open to members of Classes 2 and 3, comprised two set exercises on each apparatus (given by the instructor, Mr E. Hawthorn). The maximum number of marks that could be obtained was 12 in each exercise or 24 altogether (on the apparatus). For jumping the maximum number of marks was 15 (1st commencing at 3 feet, 10 inches, and an additional mark for each additional inch.) For rope climbing the maximum number of marks allowed was 9). The appended figures show the number of marks in each competition:

  Horizontal Bar Parallel Bar Rings High jump Rope Climbing Total
1st, E Williams 19 19 21 13 8 80

2nd, W Matthews

14 15 16 9 6 62
3rd, F Cole 8 17 18 3 4 51
W Madocks 9 13 12 5 5 45
I Wootton 9 12 12 0 3 37
C W Price 9 14 10 0 3 37
C. King 6    6 12 2 5 32

E. Williams, W. Matthews, and F. Cole were awarded a certificate and a pair of Indian cubs (the gift of Mr Percy Morton) each.

The result of the Indian Club competition was as follows:- 1st, a book (given by Miss Nellie Morgan) W. Matthews 19 marks out of a possible 20; 2nd, W. Maddocks, 16 ½; T. Maund, 15 ½; C. W. Price, 15 ½; I. Wootton, 13 ½; F. Cole, 12 ½. Each competitor had to swing the clubs for 1 ½ minutes; marks counted for grace and neatness.

The committee, and the instructor, Mr Hawthorne expecially, are to be congratulated upon the unprecedented success which has attended the gymnasium during the present season.