The National Smelting Co Boxing Club

Smelters Boxing Gym, Avonmouth

Club History

The NSC ABC was formed in the 1930's at the then National Smelting Company, a large heavy chemicals works at Avonmouth. The gym was a wooden building behind the main canteen on the works site, it produced many local boxing hero's namely Idris Alsop who had the unique distinction of boxing for both England and Wales, Freddie Bull, Lou Merritt the late John Burns.

Wyndham Hicks became Secretary of the Club in 1959 with Coach Idris Allsop produced many champions Such as Peter Guest, Albert Dixon and later on Nick Wiltshire who represented England in many international competitions culminating in the Moscow Olympics, Western County champions in Dave Clancy, Tony Powell who went on to Play football for Bath and Norwich City, Craig Powell, Darren Dorrington, Ross Hale and many more during this time the coaches included Albert Dixon, Peter Guest, Lou and Alan Merritt and Fred Randall.

The Gym was moved from the works site to the old school in the middle of Shirehampton village and then to the Nissen huts on the Portway school site on Penpole, in the 1970's after a wonderful fund raising effort under the then President, Wally Harris along with Jim Dyer, Pete Yeals and many others, a new wooden section building, with the leadership of the then Chairman Dick Neck, was purchased and erected on the National Smelting Company Sports and Social grounds at Stoke Bishop where it remained till April 1995 when it was dismantled and put into storage, in August 1995 it was rebuilt on the King George 5th Playing fields the home of Avonmouth Rugby Club on 25th August training resumed as it continues to do to this day.

The leaving of the Stoke Bishop ground coincided with the retirement of Wydham Hicks after 36 years of Service as Secretary of the Club, in its long history the Club has had only six Secretary's with Wydham by far the longest serving.  Peter Rafferty took over as secretary when Wyndham Hicks retired.  He was secretary and  matchmaker for many years.  Peter was also a highly well thought of timekeeper and judge for the Western Counties.


The Club held many memorable nights with Tournaments at the Shirehampton Public hall and people still talk about the Anglo-Welsh bouts such as Peter Guest-V-Idwal Frost and many more. The ABA quarter finals where held at the main canteen at the works site as was a annual Tournament with the Standard Motor Company at Coventry between the two works Boxing teams.

Since the 1970's tournaments have been held at Manor Farm Sports and Social Club at the Creek, Portway, Sea Mills over 90 Tournaments have been held at this venue and is very popular with the lovers of the sport of Amateur Boxing.


Wyndham Hicks 1912-2005
Wyndham arrived in Bristol from Porth in the Rhondda Valley in 1938 after serving as a Bandsman in the Welsh Regiment. He became Honorary Secretary of the National Smelting Company Amateur Boxing Club in 1962 he remained in that post until he resigned through ill health in 1985. He then took up the post of Hon. Secretary of the Club again in 1988 which he held till he retired in 1995 at the age of 83. He was made a life member of the Club and continued to take a active interest in the Club.
During his time in Office he oversaw the moving of the Club Gym from the site of the National Smelting Company at Avonmouth to the Old School in the middle of the village of Shirehampton then on to the Nissan Huts on Penpole and then after a massive fund raising effort the Club purchased it’s own sectional wooden Building and erected it in the Grounds of the National Smelting Company’s Sports and Social Clubs Grounds Stoke Bishop and then at the age of 82 he raised the money for the removal, Storage and erection on its present site of Avonmouth RFC grounds.
Under his leadership the Club produced many great Boxers, the one that gave him most Satisfaction was Nick Wilshire who won the ABA Title in 1979 and went on to represent Great Britain at the Moscow Olympics, Darren Dorrington and Ross Hale were all succesfull amateurs in his time.

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