When the 'true' father of British Weightlifting, Professor Szalay, lost his court case with Eugen Sandow it left him destitute at the age of 51.
All the great names of the strength world organised benefits for him, most notably the one by Monte Saldo.
The athletes that supported this show read like a 'Who's Who' of the British sporting scene. One of the items on the programme was a Physical Excellence Competition to choose Britain's best developed man and David Blazer won it.
David later set a number of British weightlifting records; he was a pupil of Monte Saldo and trained on his non-apparatus Maxalding system when at sea and practiced weightlifting when not on board ship.
David Blazer later took up a successful stage career. Read about this and and his other achievements in an illustrated biography written by his grandson Roger Blazer as seen below. - Ron Tyrrell
My Grandfather joined the Navy at the age of 16. He sailed to Mexico, South America and The West Indies. He set up a Physical Culture training club on ship during his career as as a sailor. One ship my father remembers him talking about was HMS Warspite. He is the one doing the handstand at the top of the human pyramid.
He lived with his two sisters, Nina & Klara at 21 Bellefields Road, Brixton. His father, Jacob Carel , was a violinist who had come to London from Holland and played with the Carl Rosa Opera Company. He went off to South America, never to return. His mother, Louie Blair, grew up in Durham as a housemaid and after getting married and moving to Brixton took in theatrical lodgers as a way of bringing in money.
From around 1911 David Blazer started making a name for himself in Weightlifting. In 1911 he was one of Edward Aston's seconds during the competition between Aston and Thomas Inch. During this period he won the title of 'Britain's Best Developed Man' in a competition that was sponsored by Monte Saldo. In 1912/13 he won four British Weight Lifting records which were witnessed by Aston & Inch.
David Blazer's naval career ended around 1916. On leaving the navy he joined the London Salvage Corps. It is probable that this was the period when he spent a fair amount of time at The South London Physical Culture Club and The Camberwell Club in the company of Monte Saldo, Edward Aston & Thomas Inch. My father recalls him telling of his wrestling bouts as well.
He also went on stage. He appeared in two acts. These were The Cornelius Brothers, which was a strong man act and Bright & Bright, Versatile Entertainers, which was a lighter entertainment act. The Brixton Empire was just at the top of Bellefields road and he supported main acts like Will Hay. Apart from his feats of strength he also played the Mandolin & Concertina.
We hope you will enjoy this wonderful Photo Album of David Blazer, the contents of which were donated by his grandson, Roger Blazer for which we are most grateful. Please allow a few moments for the album to load. Its well worth the wait!
The picture alongside, with him wearing the leotard, was when he was reputedly given the title 'Mr. Briton', although I have never actually found any evidence of this.
In 1920 he married Amy Goodwin Percival and they set up home in Gilbert Street, Lambeth. They had three children; Dorothy Louise, Beryl Murdock and Carlo David (my father).
Unfortunately I never met either my Grandfather or Grandmother. My Grandmother died of TB in 1935. My Grandfather was involved in an accident on the London Underground and died, tragically, at the age of 54. The youngest sister, Beryl, and my father were then taken into a Navy Orphanage School.
My father has many happy memories tough of riding on his father's shoulders and being thrown up in the air. - Roger Blazer
At some time in his later career on the stage David Blazer published a postal physical culture course. He advertised this in the 'Health & Strength' Magazine.
Maxalding continued using pictures of David Blazer in their advertisements as late as 1954.
©Copyright by Roger Blazer. No reproduction without express permission of the Author.
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