National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Johnny Hill (1905-1929)

Johnny Hill (1905-1929)

World boxing champion

Johnny Hill is Scotland’s first world boxing champion. He was trained by his father and James Lee at Leith Victoria Club. As an amateur he took the Scottish flyweight and bantamweight titles before going on to win the British ABA flyweight championship as well as the trophy for best boxer. He turned professional in 1926 and continued his success by taking the British and European flyweight titles. On 29 August 1928 he defeated ‘Newsboy’ Brown in London to become world champion. He held the title, undefeated, until his sudden death the following year. His achievement was recognised several years before Benny Lynch became the next Scottish world boxing champion.

Birth in 1905

John Oswald Stewart Hill was born on 14 December 1905, the son of David Stewart Hill, mason, and Mary Jessie Inglis. The entry in the statutory register of births for the district of Canongate in the city of Edinburgh gives his place of birth as 5 Brunswick Road. The birth was registered on 8 January 1906. As the statutory index is for the year of registration his birth entry is indexed as 1906 rather than 1905.

Birth entry for Johnny Hill

Birth entry for Johnny Hill (48 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1906/685-3/23

1911 Census

In 1911 John Hill, 5, was enumerated at Back Dykes with his family and was attending school. The census return for the district of Strathmiglo shows that the household included his parents, his two sisters and three brothers. The columns for ‘particulars as to marriage’ record that his parents had been married for 12 years and had eight children born alive of whom six were still living.

1911 Census record for Johnny Hill, part 1

1911 Census record for Johnny Hill, part 2

1911 Census record for Johnny Hill (61 and 57 KB jpegs)
National Records of Scotland, 1911/457-A/1, page 14

Death in 1929

John Oswald Stewart Hill, professional boxer, single, died on 27 September 1929. The entry in the statutory register of deaths for the parish of Strathmiglo in the county of Fife gives the place of death as High Street, Strathmiglo and the cause of death as pulmonary haemorrhage. He was only 23 years old.

Death entry for Johnny Hill

Death entry for Johnny Hill (53 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1929/457-A/15