Gurning started in 1267 in Cumbrian town called Egremont as part of the crab fair. The best gurners are people without teeth who can force their bottom lip over their nose, making breathing somewhat difficult. It is important to remember a champion gurner comes from the contrast of their normal face and their gurning face. This gives people of all types of face a good chance.
On a personal note gurning came to Blackheath London in 1995 when a gurning employee at our computer firm started practicing gurning computer monitors (a special branch of gurning known as marping). This cost the company in damaged monitors, but sparked interest in going to the gurning fair, and now we go every year for a relaxing few days in Cumbria. In recent years the gurning fair has been replaced by trips to pubs and tea rooms (:).