The History of Physical Culture (HOPC) contains one of the largest and most comprehensive online libraries of its kind. It was originally founded under the name, Sandow Plus in the United Kingdom in the late 90’s. Following the untimely death of one of its founders, ownership was transferred to Canada and it was renamed the History of Physical Culture (HOPC). Since then it has grown exponentially.
Its online library represents two decades of collective literature that consists of rare historical publications from the early 1900’s to modern times. The HOPC Library offers resources to meet the needs of individuals, historians, media outlets, scholars, researchers and the academic community. Along with contemporary work and biographies by its talented team of historians and writers, it contains hundreds of rare books, articles and photos donated by the HOPC Team and collectors from all over the world who support the HOPC’s vision to preserve history.
The History of Physical Culture Library provides resources to meet the needs of individuals, historians, media outlets, scholars, researchers and the academic community .
The HOPC Team of historians and writers kindly donate their publications from all corners of the world. Illustrations done by the late Chris Bostick, HOPC Art Director, an amazing talent…may he rest in peace.
Meet the HOPC Team
We are pleased to present to you the historians, writers and international correspondents that make up our History of Physical Culture Team. They are committed to preserving the rich history and tradition of physical culture throughout generations of mankind. This site is dedicated to the late Leo Robert, Former Mr. Universe Pro.
Historian & Author (England)
David is an internationally acclaimed Historian and Author of Physical Culture. For several decades, he was a regular contributor of over 25 of the world's top muscle magazines. David's prolific writings include over 2,000 articles published in the World Muscle Press on all subjects relating to physical culture or strength.
He has written more on the topic of strength and muscle development than anyone in the history of the Iron Game. For almost seven decades he has had his articles published in every major Bodybuilding and Strength related journals, under his own name, pen names and also as ghost writer for many champions.
Peter Yates was born in 1951 and grew up in Darwen, Lancashire, UK.As a kid he was so puny even the 90lb weakling kicked sand in his face and pushed him around. In an effort to build up his strength and health he hiked the local moors to an abandoned quarry where he would lift, carry and throw rocks of various sizes. Hearing of this his father fashioned a barbell from an iron bar and scrap steel discs so he could train at home. At the age of twelve he came under the guidance of Maurice Ainsworth and the lads at Darwen weightlifting club, where he was introduced to the rudiments of weightlifting, hand-balancing, muscle control and self defense. At this time, he was also taking classes in boxing and wrestling and later was taught karate by Maurice.
Setting off in his late teens to see the world he has visited over twenty countries living in each from a few months to several years, and has always found great places in which to train along side wonderful people. Spending a total of fifteen years in the far east he was fortunate to study under several high-level masters in various martial arts, simultaneously learning East Asian healing and health promotion modalities.
Library Co-Founder (England)
I was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, England in 1942. During War time Britain I was exposed to food shortages and rationing. As a result of a meager but reasonably nutritious diet, I left school at age 14 weighing just 8 stone (112lbs). I was quite strong for my size, and as an apprentice gardener found a great deal of satisfaction showing my much bigger work mates that I could lift and load bags on to tractors, that weighed the same as me. But I still wanted to look strong.....I looked to the "Muscle by Mail Order" guys. Lionel Stebbings' course was the first one I chose...results = none (The course is on the website somewhere). Next, I followed the millions before me and wrote to Charles Atlas....results = some progress, but not enough. Then an uncle gave me two 40lb solid dumbbells, which I carried home for ¾ of a mile. I can still scratch my kneecaps without bending down.....progress limited but getting there. I finally followed Maxalding, a training method I still use today. I joined a gym and made good progress. I soon discovered that Maxalding and the weights worked well together. I won several strength titles in the sixties before giving up competition to raise a family.
We wish to take this opportunity to honour the passing of Roger Fillary, a wonderful friend and colleague who worked tirelessly maintaining our MAXALDING and SANDOW PLUS websites for many years. Roger is sadly missed by all.
Historian & Contributing Writer (England)
It is with great sadness that we announce that Ron Tyrrell, HOPC Historian passed away on May 28th, 2020 after battling a lengthy illness. Below is an essay Ron wrote several years ago that describes his life as a writer and athlete.
I was born in Dover, on the South-East coast of England in late 1939, when the Country was at war and food was rationed. Having been born with a delicate constitution and with other health issues, made participation in any form of sport quite out of the question. The War ended in 1945, although food rationing continued until the early 1950s, but in 1948 something quite wonderful happened; the National Health Service was created, and due to my condition, I was introduced to the wonders of cod liver oil, malt and concentrated orange juice.
At the age of twelve, I decided to do something more about my physical condition. With the help of a retired Army Major, I embarked upon a series of what were known as “Swedish Exercises”, and managed to improve my stamina and co-ordination a little. About two years later, I was fortunate enough to meet Court Saldo (Monte's son), principle of Maxalding Exercise System, and this proved to be a life-changing experience. I learned the value of remedial physical culture, and as a result of our many conversations, I became a student of the history of all forms of physical endeavour. I made a lot of progress, and was then able to take part in school sports, and despite my health issues, in my last school year I won the Victor Ludorum Cup for the “best all-round athlete”. I decided to concentrate on throwing the discus, and reached a sufficiently high standard to qualify to compete in the British National Junior Championships. The standard was very high that year and Mike Lindsay set a new World Junior Record, previously held by Al Oerter (who later became a four-times Olympic Gold Medalist).
Laurie was born in Sydney, AUSTRALIA in 1949. Growing up one of his many pleasures was watching movies at the cinema and especially the Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weismuller. This was the start of a life long fascination with Tarzan including the screen actors who portrayed the character and the many illustrations by various artists in the comic books. Of particular interest to the young Laurie was how these screen heroes built their physiques. With an interest in the history of movies, Laurie has seen most films of the HOLLYWOOD GOLDEN YEARS of the 1930's,40s and 50's and has researched the type of training those early male actors used to get in shape for their roles. Starting his training at age 14 with a set of chest expanders, Laurie has continued this type of training his whole life and has a particular interest in this Physical Culture method and those who have employed it. Besides the more well known cable trainers Laurie has uncovered many interesting and obscure facts about wrestlers, strongmen/women, boxers, stuntmen and actors who have used strands as a primary training tool.
Laurie has a PC collection of magazines, postcards, mail order adds and courses from both Australia and overseas. Australia has many strongmen, courses and archived photographs that are not widely known outside that continent, a situation Laurie has been working to rectify over the years. He has an uncanny knack of unearthing obscure and long forgotten facts pertaining to that endeavor, and sharing them with the friends he has made through PC including DAVID GENTLE, RON TYRRELL, KEV COLLINGS and PETER YATES. While he has had articles published in such strength journals as Muscle Mob and One More Rep, he prefers to be in the background and send his findings to others to disseminate. His Friend Peter Yates refers to him as a PC detective, someone who looks for clues and sees things others often overlook. A great asset to the HOPC Team providing information that may never have seen the light of day.
World Champion Bodybuilder & Contributing Writer (Bulgaria)
I started training at 13 years of age in my bedroom with a second hand Weider 110lb barbell. At 14 I joined a gym. I made good progress and was encouraged to enter the world of physique contests in 1966. It was the beginning of a career that was to span 4 decades of competition in bodybuilding, powerlifting and strongman, winning British, European and World titles along the way. My last contest was the World Bodybuilding Championship in Durban, South Africa in 1998.
I have an eBook out that details my contest history, workout routines and diets. After serving 32 years as a firefighter, I retired in 2001. In 2004 I moved from Scotland to Bulgaria. I live here with my wife Marion. I met Marion in my gym in 1999, a gym I owned from 1986. She had trained with weights before but was lacking guidance. In 2000 she won the World Bodybuilding Championship in Paris France. She switched to powerlifting in 2001 and won the Scottish championships. She then focused on strongwoman and in 2003 she became Britain's Strongest Woman. In 2006 she won the Bulgarian bodybuilding championship defeating the woman who had won the previous six years.
We both still train four times a week and are enjoying our retirement in Bulgaria. It is a wonderful country with very nice people, long hot summers with temperatures of 35c most days and short sharp winter with temperatures of minus 20c and big snow.
Social Media Contributor (Wales)
HARRY HAYFIELD is a resident of of the county of Cardiganshire in Wales, part of the United Kingdom. Wales has a long heritage of Physical Culture in which champions of strength and physique have emerged. To name a few: PAUL GRANT, Mr. Wales, Mr. Britain, Mr. World, Amateur Tall Class Mr. Universe 1973, GARY TAYLOR, weightlifter, powerlifter, bodybuilder and World's Strongest Man 1993, and More recently JAMES "FLEX" LEWIS, who has won 7 consecutive Mr. Olympia titles in the 212lb class, retiring undefeated in 2018.
Harry has had a lifelong interest in Physical Culture and Bodybuilding, however due to being an unpaid caregiver for his grandparents, lack of free time and finances have somewhat inhibited his ability to train. Recently, due to a free weekend bus service in his area, Harry has been able to travel and attend a gym and receive coaching, leading to significant progress as a result. While he is following in the footsteps of his famous countrymen, Harry admits that reporting the world of Physical Culture will be as near as it gets to taking part.
Besides taking care of his grandparents and his interest in Physical Culture, Harry has been involved in the community via local politics. He is an accomplished writer with a quick wit and a definite way with words.
The Late Chris SticksBostick
HOPC Art Director
May 4, 2019
The HOPC Team received the very sad news that our beloved member and illustrator 'Sticks' passed away yesterday morning (May 3rd, 2019). Artist, musician, fabricator of exercise equipment and all-round decent guy, Chris has played an integral role in the development of HOPC. The volume of work he has contributed is amazing when one considers he was working several jobs and was also caregiver to his ailing brother.
Chris and i met when we were both contributors to Rob Drucker's Muscles of Iron site, and from that time on we became and remained firm friends. We undertook quite a few projects together and were in regular contact. It did not take me long to realize that he was a good, kind and generous human being concerned for the welfare of others. Many times he would make equipment for youngsters who had little money and give them solid training programs so they could train at home.
He was caregiver for both of his parents and his younger brother until they passed. He did this always with love and compassion and no complaint. He had a great sense of humor which would often show in his art work and took pleasure in giving pleasure. His work has without doubt enhanced the quality of HOPC as he entertained, amused and instructed through it. It is a wonderful legacy he leaves behind even though he now leaves a void that cannot be filled. How blessed I was to have known him, spent time with him and lucky to have him as a friend. Now he is at peace and we must let go. God bless you dear Sticks and may you find eternal rest.
Our sincerest condolences to his sister Diane, family and friends.
Peter Yates, HOPC Editor-in-Chief
We invite you to join the History of Physical Culture Library for only $19.95 per year. Along with contemporary work by our team of talented writers, it contains hundreds of rare books, articles and photos donated by collectors from all over the world who support our vision to preserve history.