John Boland was a Birmingham Oratorian orphan, son of a wealthy Dublin biscuit baker, who became the very first Olympic Lawn Tennis Champion at the first Modern Olympiad in Athens in 1896 #BrumIsBrill
He was the son of Patrick Boland (1840–1877), businessman, and his wife, Mary Donnelly, and was born at 135 Capel Street, Dublin, on 16 September 1870.
His father, the wealthy proprietor of the largest bakery in Ireland, locally known as ‘Boland’s Biscuits’, died in 1877, and his mother in 1882, leaving their seven children under the guardianship of Mrs Boland’s half-brother Nicholas Donnelly, auxiliary bishop of Dublin.
John Pius Mary Boland owed his second name, which caused him some embarrassment as boy, to the fact that his baptism followed shortly after Pope Pius IX’s loss of temporal power upon the capture of Rome by King Victor Emmanuel.
He was educated by the Marist Fathers at the Catholic University School in Dublin, and then from 1881 to 1890 at the Oratory School, Birmingham…
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