Ruben Cockbill-
Fearless in the lion’s den!

Medal front
Judith Cockbill emailed me to say:
In reply to your email, I have located the medal and taken a photograph of the front view and back view.  I have attached them for you to see.  If you zoom in, you can easily see the inscriptions.  We did have a photograph of Reuben Cockbill, but as yet I have not found it.  All we know is that he was given the medal for entering the lion’s cage (with the lion inside and its handler) when the show came to Wednesbury or Darlaston in 1907. It was part of the show apparently to ask if any member of the audience had the nerve to do it, for which they would be given a gold medal.  Health & Safety would have a ‘fit’ these days!
Regards
Judith Cockbill
Medal back

 

And further to this………..
Reuben and Jane Cockbill (374 x 600)
Hi Terence

Sorry it took so long to find the attached photo, scan it and today eventually send it to you.  The added bonus is that Rueben Cockbill is actually wearing the medal he got from entering the lion’s cage (as stated before).

I had already done some ancestry research on the family and I can tell you that Reuben was born in Hook Norton, Oxfordshire in 1869.  When he was one year old, his family moved to Shottery in Stratford-upon-Avon.  (Shottery is the small area where Ann Hathaway’s cottage is situated).  At the age of 16 years he walked to Wednesbury, presumably as the town was becoming very industrialised and work on the land getting scarce.  He became a landlord of a public house in Darlaston, then one in Wednesbury near the Great Western Railway Station.  He also ran a small haulage business, using a Shire Horse and cart.  My husband also remembers him keeping a few pigs.  He had five children and was widowed in 1925.  He died in Wednesbury in 1946 at the age of  77 years and is buried in Wood Green Cemetery in Wednesbury.  By remembered accounts, he was a hardworking but amiable gentleman with a good sense of humour.

Hope this information is useful to you, together with the previously sent photographs of the medal.

Best wishes with your research.

Regards
Judith Cockbill

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