Welcome to the official Harry Bensley web site
This site chronicles the story of Harry Bensley, who had an interesting period in his life, as he reputedly took up the challenge to walk around the world for a 100,000 dollar bet (then £21,000), the largest ever recorded bet on record at the time. He had to wear the helmet from a suit of armour and became known as "The Man in the Iron Mask" and also "The Masked Walker".
The bet was between John Pierpoint Morgan and Hugh Cecil Lowther Lonsdale. Lonsdale proposed that it would be possible for a man to walk around the world, without being identified, whereas Morgan said it could not be done. So Morgan put his money where his mouth was and offered a bet, promising to pay the 100,000 dollars to the man who completed the challenge.
In this site you will find the official story of how the bet came about, and how Harry took up the challenge to be the man who would walk around the world, without being identified. There were many extreme conditions placed on the challenge, and he had to visit a very specific list of places within England and also the rest of the world. Morgan also financed a "minder" who was appointed to traveled with him to ensure all the conditions were met.
Evidence of the journey in the form of pictures, postcards and pamphlets are presented in this web site. The BBC has covered the story on several radio broadcasts over the years, and Harry's incredible journey has made it into many books and newspaper references. I have documented all those that I know about. If you have any other pictures or know of other references to the journey, please contact me and I will happily add them to this web site, with an acknowledgement to yourself. Some film companies have also been in contact about making a short film. But as yet, none of these has resulted in a film being produced. We're still hopeful that a film will be produced one day, as the interest produced by the extra exposure through this new field may bring in more useful information.
So why am I maintaining this web site? Well, I am the great grandson of Harry Bensley, and along with my mother (Harry's granddaughter), we are trying to find ever more information about Harry and his incredible attempt to walk around the world, pushing a perambulator (pram) whilst wearing a helmet from a suit of armour so that he would not be recognised.
But was this journey ever completed? Read the details, and the reports of other people who have looked into this story, and make up your own minds. Please follow Harry's journey using the navigation bar above, and enjoy the ride.