Monday, 5 October 2009

Britain's first black mayor was elected in Thetford, 1904

From Black History Month, Norfolk, site:

Although Norfolk is generally perceived to be a white county, it has had a Black presence for many centuries.

Here we provide some details about this aspect of Norfolk’s history. Yet, there is much more yet to be discovered and documented. If you have any information that could be added to this resource, please contact us.

Dr. Allan Glaisyer Minns

Britain’s First Black Mayor

If you were asked where the first Black Mayor in Britain was elected, what would you say? London? Birmingham? Manchester? In fact, according to recent research, the first ever Black Mayor in Britain was a man named Dr. Allan Glaisyer Minns, Mayor of Thetford, Norfolk!

Until quite recently John Archer, elected Mayor of Battersea in 1913, was thought to be the first Black man to hold this position. However the American Negro Year Book 1914 recorded that, ‘In 1904 Mr Allen Glaisyer Minns, a col’d man from West Indies, was elected Mayor of borough of Thetford, Norfolk’.

Norwich and Norfolk Racial Equality Council (NNREC) and Norfolk Record Office have been researching the life of Dr. Minns following initial research undertaken by Sean Creighton, a historian based in South London. The following is an extract from the From Norfolk & Suffolk In East Anglia, Contemporary Biographies, W.T Pike (1911), Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds:

Minns – Allan Glaisyer Minns, Alexandra House, Thetford; youngest son of the late John Minns; born at Inagua Bahamas, October 19th 1858. Educated at Nassau Grammar School and Guy’s Hospital London. MRCS Eng; Lond. Medical Officer Thetford Workhouse & Thetford District of Thetford Union, Hon. Medical Officer Thetford Cottage Hospital. Member of the British MA & Norwich Medico-Chirurgical Society; President of Horticultural Society; Mayor of Thetford 1904-05-06.

Please visit the Black History Month, Norfolk, site for more fascinating information on local black history.

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