Doncaster Museum is fundraising to buy painting of Mexborough boxing legend Iron Hague

The painting of Iron Hague the boxing champ
The painting of Iron Hague the boxing champ

A Museum has started fighting fund to buy a painting of Mexborough born fighter Iron Hague.

Doncaster Museum Service has been offered the opportunity to purchase a £2,500 painting of the legendary local boxer James William ‘Iron’ Hague and is appealing for donors to help raise the cash.

The painting which is in oil on canvas depicts Hague in typical pugilistic stance, and was probably painted in 1909 to celebrate Hague’s victory over Gunner Jim Moir to claim the British heavyweight boxing title.

Hague, who was born in Mexborough, was British heavyweight boxing champion between 1909 and 1911, defending his title three times.

He acquired his nickname of ‘Iron’ during his schooldays. After being hit over the head when involved in a playground spat he wrapped his school scarf round the wound, held it in place with his school cap and proceeded to his next lesson.

On entering the class he was asked by his teacher to remove the cap. Seeing the size of the wound, and the fact that young Hague had patched it up himself, the teacher said: “you must be made of Iron lad”; and the name stuck.

The painting is on long term loan at Cusworth Hall Museum from Iron Hague’s family where it has been admired greatly by members of the public.

Doncaster Museum is currently putting together a grant application for half the cost to try and bring the painting to Doncaster on a permanent basis and prevent it from being sold into private hands.

The museum is also appealing to members of the general public to make pledges of financial support to help the fighting fund and so far nearly £600 has been donated.

Councillor Bob Johnson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, said: “This painting of Mexborough-born boxing legend James William ‘Iron’ Hague is proving a popular exhibit at Cusworth Hall Museum.

“With Doncaster celebrating its first world boxing champion earlier this year when Jamie McDonnell was crowned IBF bantamweight champion, it would be wonderful if we could raise the funds to keep this painting which recognises one of our earlier boxing heroes on public display.”

For further information or to pledge money, please contact Neil McGregor at Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery: 01302 734295 / Neil.mcgregor@doncaster.gov.uk / Neil McGregor, Museums officer (Art and Exhibitions), Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery, Chequer Road, Doncaster, DN1 2AE.