Why Hundreds?

William Banner Pullum (1844 – 1889) was a pugilist and known as Professor Hundreds.

Where had this nickname come from?

The Professor is fairly easily explained. We know from the article covering his funeral in the Sporting Life, that “He became an instructor in the art of self-defence”.
In the 1870s and 80s, middle and upper class gentlemen often wanted to learn how to defend themselves and sometimes fancied themselves as boxers. It was not uncommon for pugilists who had been successful, to be called Professor so that these gentleman were more likely to choose them as teachers.

But why “Hundreds”? I had found no explanation for this.

However I have now discovered a fish and tapas restaurant in Southend-on-Sea called Billy 100s. Its website, http://www.billyhundreds.com has a page about its historyBilly Hundreds restaurant

The great grandfather of the restaurant owner is William Banner Pullum (1871 – 1929), who, according to this history, was named Billy Hundreds because when he became a fish porter at Billingsgate market, his badge number was 100. The nickname was passed to his son and then to his son-in-law.

(The Banner Pullum tradition followed the same line for a while)

(click picture to enlarge)

The first Billy Hundreds was the son of Professor Hundreds.William Banner Pullum b 1871

The Billy Hundreds nickname originating from the badge number of the first William Banner Pullum who was a fish porter, is logical but there is good evidence that his father was known as Hundreds.
I thought maybe the name was somehow passed back, but the pugilist William had this name from about 1864 and at this time, his son William was not yet born.

The mystery continues…….

updated 27.04.15

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