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Arnold Schwarzenegger - Made In Britain

Arnold Schwarzenegger - Roy Perrott - Wag Bennett

Wag and Diane Bennett with a Young Arnold Schwarzenegger

Bodybuilding fans may not know that Arnold Schwarzenegger actually lived in the UK for a period of time, between 1966 to 1968. The 19 year old Austrian, spoke no English and slept on a sofa at the Muscle Mansion, a gym in Forest Gate, London, run by Wag Bennett (1930 - 2008). Many years earlier, Wag was known to be the first man in England to bench press 500 lbs. Wag's gym was originally situated in the house before he acquired the church hall next door and transformed the church into a world famous gym. The gym was located at 353 Romford Road, East 7, London, E7 8AA. Some impressive bodybuilders trained at Wags gym.

Photo below: Note the spelling mistake for Reg Park's name.

Famous Bodybuilders who Trained at Wag Bennetts Gym

Photo below: A comparison of how Wag Bennet's Home / Gym used to look compared to a more recent photo. A young Arnold Schwarzenegger stands outside the home of Wag and Dianne Bennett. Photo by Derelict London.

Photo of Wag bennetts Home and Gym taken by Derelict London

Photo Below: Arnold & Wag Bennett standing by the famous Lamp Post outside Wag's Home / Gym known as "Muscle Mansion".


Photo below: Not sure what year the famous Silhouetted bodybuilders appeared on Wag Bennett's lamp post but it was a nice touch. I believe after Wag passed away in 2008 and the house and gym went up for sale, someone stole the top part of the lamp post!

Wag Bennett's Famous Bodybuilding Lamp Post

Photos of the famous Wag Bennett Church Gym (Source).

Wag Bennett's Gym where Arnold Schwarzenegger Trained

Wag Bennett's Gym where Arnold Schwarzenegger Trained

Wag Bennett's Gym where Arnold Schwarzenegger Trained

Wag Bennett's Gym where Arnold Schwarzenegger Trained

Wag Bennett's Gym where Arnold Schwarzenegger Trained

Wag Bennett discovered Arnold back in 1966, during the NABBA Mr Universe contest where Arnold finished in second place with Chet Yorton winning (see photos below). Wag was a judge at that contest and felt that Arnold should have won, which pleased Arnold.

Arnold Schwarzenegger - First NABBA Mr Universe contest - 1966

Chet Yorton Beating Arnold Schwarzeneggar at the 1966 NABBA Mr Universe contest

As Wag and his wife Dianne were impressed with the young Schwarzenegger, they invited him to live with them and their six children in their flat above the Romford Road gym. Wag trained him while Dianne taught him English.

Arnold with Wag and Diane Bennett and Family

Arnold with Wag Bennetts Family

Wag was also known to have trained other top bodybuilders now considered legends such as Reg Park, Robby Robinson and Lou Ferrigno.

Photo below: Young Arnold in 1966 meeting his Idol Reg Park at Wags Gym. The 'W' on his vest stands for 'Wag'.

Young Arnold in 1966 meeting his Idol Reg Park at Wags Gym



"The photo shows me meeting my boyhood idol, Reg Park, for the first time. He's wearing sweats, looking relaxed and tanned, and I'm wearing my posing trunks looking star struck and pale. I was in the presence of Hercules, a three-time Mr Universe, of the star whose picture I kept on my wall, of the man on whom I'd modelled my life plan. I could hardly stammer out a word. All the English I'd learned flew right out of my head." ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

Young Arnold and Wag Bennett

Since the passing of Wag Bennett in 2008, Wags Home and Gym has slowly become derelict. Back in April, 2013, a fire broke out.

Fire at Wag Bennett Gym - 13 April 2013

These photos are from 2014...

Recent Photo of Wag Bennetts Muscle Mansion

Recent Picture of Wag Bennetts Muscle Mansion

Not sure what Wag's home / gym looks like today but it's a shame it was left to rot like that.

A number of years ago a British documentary called "Arnold Schwarzenegger - Made In Britain" was shown on tv which I thought was great. The only negative was that Jimmy Savile was Interviewed in the documentary. Savile was president of NABBA, and handed out awards to winners at the Mr Universe competition. I did upload an edited version and removed the parts which contained Jimmy Savile. So if you would rather watch that 'edited' version, watch the second video below.


Documentary on Arnold Schwarzenegger called "Made In Britain" without Jimmy Savile


If anyone wishes to share stories on Wag or Dianne Bennett, or maybe you trained at Wag's gym, then please consider posting below.

** Do NOT use this section to focus solely on Jimmy Savile!! This thread is not about him ** 

More info on Wag Bennett can be viewed here.

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