‘Black Butcher Johnson’ alias Arthur Sylvester Howe

I know it’s not obviously ‘Ivens’, but the story is connected, and nevertheless interesting.

Remember Charles William Ivens who was born in Putney, but enrolled with the Australian Army in 1914, was wounded at Gallipoli in 1915, went AWOL in 1918, married a Belgian girl in 1919 and eventually disappeared in 1955, only to re-appear at his funeral in Norfolk in 1972?

He had 2 children as far as I can tell, a son, Charles Gabriel Ivens and a daughter Andree Henriette Ivens who eventually married Arthur Sylvester Howe in 1950. At this point I turn to the very helpful guys at www.wrestlingheritage.co.uk  . They have kindly not only given me permission to use the text, but also sent along some background research source material. How generous is that?!

Black Butcher pic

Black Butcher Johnson

Arthur Sylvester Howe was none other than wrestler ‘Black Butcher Johnson’ – “A lean, muscular wrestler weighing around 13 stones in the 1930s, he was one of the great characters of the pre and post war wrestling scene, wrestling great names such as Carl Pojello, Jack Pye and Bert Mansfield. Butcher began his career in the 1930s and was still wrestling regularly well into the 1960s.

“Born on 31st December, 1912, Arthur’s mother was Irene Howe (nee Bess). Irene was to re-marry, to Auguste Lagey in 1916 in Paddington, with whom she gave birth to another son who was also destined to become a popular wrestler of the Heritage years. Wrestling folklore has it that his mother was a circus strong woman and wrestler, and whilst we have no reason for not believing this we have been unable to uncover any evidence to support the story. We do know that he was the older brother of Johnny Kwango.

“Ron Historyo, the resident genealogist at Wrestling Heritage, discovered that no one named Arthur Sylvester Howe was born at this time in England or Wales, and neither was there a record of Irene Bess marrying anyone called Howe in England and Wales. All this, and the absence of Irene Howe or Bess in the 1911 census, indicates that Black Butcher Johnson was born overseas.

Of course, ‘Irene’, ‘Renee’ and ‘Reenee’ are all derivations of the same name and may not be her first name at all – Ed.


“Black Butcher Johnson had married Renee F Belcher in the Autumn of 1932 in St Pancras, a marriage which ended in divorce in 1945.”

In 1939 he is registered as living with Irene F. Howe at 19 Rochester Road , St Pancras, London as a Professional Wrestler. [Irene is recorded as having been born on 6th June 1911].

Not long after, Arthur set up a publishing company ‘Ashowe Publications’, which began publishing Combat, a boxing and wrestling magazine in 1947, until the company was dissolved in 1952.

During this time – the Summer of 1950 – he married Andree Henriette Ivens

As far as I can tell, he had three children from the 2nd marriage to Andree Henriette Ivens : Jemima Howe (b.1950), Jeremy Nicholas Howe (b.1951) and James Arthur Howe (b.1968) who apparently went to the USA.

“Black Butcher Johnson (Arthur Sylvester Howe) died in 1987 in Camden, London”

In 2002, a Jeremy N. Howe was registered at Flat 7, West End Lane, Kilburn, London, NW6 2NA. He had been there since 2000.

In 2004, a Jeremy Howe was registered at 14A, High Road, Willesden, London, NW10 2QG

In 2012-2014, a Jeremy N. Howe was living at 66, Bermans Way, Willesden, London, NW10 1RX along with Andree Howe.  (Subsequent research suggests this Andree appears NOT to be his mother, having been born in 1952 and this Andree’s mother’s maiden name was BOWLER, which simply adds to the mystery! Curious coincidence, nevertheless)


In the years 2002 – 2010, Andree Howe was registered at 93, Tanfield Avenue, Cricklewood, London, NW2 7SB along with Lucy Howe and Jemma Ivens

[In 1977, a Lucy Howe was born in Paddington with mother’s maiden name given as Howe; Jemma Ivens appears to have lived in Cricklewood from 2003-2009 then disappeared again]

From 2011 to 2014 Andree Howe is registered as living at 66, Bermans Way, Willesden, London, NW10 1RX along with Jeremy Howe (see entry above)

So the questions now needing answering are: Who is Jemma Ivens? Who was the Andree Howe who lived with Jeremy Nicholas Howe? who is Lucy Howe? and how do they all connect?



One response to “‘Black Butcher Johnson’ alias Arthur Sylvester Howe

  1. maybe Jemma Ivens, is Jemma Howe who posted in reaction to the post you did relating to my grandmother beryl Ivens….the mystery of…


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