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The career of James Bartholomew, Jockey

A tale of the evils of Wasting

James Bartholomew was a 'celebrated jockey' whose short career fell apart when he was in his mid thirties. He had had one or two serious accidents and had to rest while his bones mended. Perhaps he continued to eat at the rate he had done while racing and exercising his mounts and he was taking no exercise; so he put the beef on and by the time he was fit to race, he was overwight and thus not fit. He could not lose weight and so had to retire from his first career by the age of 35.

The process of losing weight for racing was well known, it was called wasting. The riders had to waste their bodies away so that they did not overload their horses and so that they could win races. James had started his career, perhaps as a teenager, weighlng five stones and eleven pounds; he ended it when he was nine stones and three pounds. The writer starts of with an early description of what the jockeys did, walking many miles with hardly a stop to work the flesh off their bones. This they called wasting. They wasted away their bodies. These days it is called dieting but they still waste away their bodies. Perhaps we should revert to calling it 'wasting' rather then 'dieting'?

I owe this account of our mutual relative to Jeremy Bartholomew who has made at least two striking discoveries from limited evidence about our forbears. Thanks to him.

Here are two versions of the article in The Sporting Review of 1858:

There are two problems with this otherwise thoughtful and observant article: First James' father did not come from Doncaster, second he did not marry in Suffolk; both were done in Scotland where he and his wife came from and they had their first child in Scotland, James' eldest brother William. James' father in the 1841 census said he was born in one of Scotland, Ireland and Wales, not England and William the eldest son said in all the censuses from 1851 to 1881 that he was born in Scotland.

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