Albert Minton

The Strong Man of Pelsall

Photograph courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr

 

Albert Minton - The Strong Man of Pelsall

Albert is seen here holding a 14ft long girder with two men ready to stand on either end.

The photograph was taken in a 2 acre field that belonged to the old house Albert once lived in along Station Road, Pelsall

Mr Albert Minton is fondly remembered by many Pelsall folk as either the strong man of Pelsall or the Champion Pie Eater, Albert excelled at both.

My attention was first bought to Albert Minton whilst working on a feature for Pelsall Times about Huddocks Moor Farm.

Whilst interviewing Mr and Mrs Atkins, Mr Atkins asked if I had ever heard of Albert Minton, the champion pie eater.

Following this conversation I put an appeal in Issue 12 of the Pelsall Times magazine and a number of people wrote to me.

I was told that Albert was a big man who was often described as a gentle giant with a heart of gold.  Albert was also said to have a big appetite and always entered pie eating contests which he invariably won.

It was related to me that on one occasion, Albert went to a pie eating contest, which was so highly acclaimed that contestants had travelled from all over the country to take part, with one particular favourite coming all the way from Scotland.

Needless to say, Albert Minton won the contest.

Then on his way home he stopped off at the local chippy.

Albert Minton was known to be particularly strong and did many outstanding feats for which he was well remembered.

Of the many things he did which proved his unbelievable strength, the two following examples were related to me by readers of Pelsall Times.

On one occasion, the Labour Club on Church Road, Pelsall was having some work done.  Some way through, it was established that the workmen needed a girder for the cellar.  Naturally such a large and heavy piece of metal needed a large weight bearing vehicle to transport it to the Labour Club.

However, Albert offered his services, and got on his bike to fetch one from Wilkes Foundry, to the astonishment of those on the site.

When getting to his destination, Albert put the girder over his shoulders and got back on his bike.

So much pressure was created by the weight of the girder that the bicycle tyres exploded almost immediately, and so Albert was left without a bike.

Undeterred, Albert walked all the way back to the Labour Club with the girder on his shoulders.

I was also told that Albert was no stranger to strong men contests at travelling fairgrounds.

On one occasion, not only did he easily lift the weights presented to him, but went one step further by lifting a pit pony which made him the undisputed champion that day at Pat Collins' fair.

Shortly after the many recollections were published in issue 16 of the Pelsall Times magazine, very kindly, Albert Minton's son, Albert Minton Jnr contacted me to tell me more about Albert and share photographs of him and other associated ephemera which I went on to publish in issue 17 and 18 of the Pelsall Times magazine.

Albert Minton Jnr told me that although his father lived in Pelsall, he was born at the Sandbanks in Bloxwich.  Like his father before him, Albert was a miner.  He began his working life at the age of 14 and saw great changes in the industry during his lifetime.

Written in his own words, courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr - Examples of Albert's working life down the pit

Photograph courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr

Albert to the left of the chalk board with colleagues at the Grove Pit

Photograph courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr

Albert with colleagues at the Grove Pit

Photograph courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr

Albert with colleagues at the Grove Pit

In later years, in addition to working in the mining industry, Albert also worked in the demolition business with his two sons.  The photograph shown below is of a bridge which once stood in Clayhanger.

Photograph courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr

Albert Minton is seen to the right with colleague and unknown child

Photograph courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr

Albert Minton with his demolition team, with Albert Minton Junior to the left of the photograph standing next to his father.

As seen in the photograph above, gelatine strands were laid to demolish such large structures.  These were very powerful explosives which would have made sure that the bridge was 'blown sky high'.

Photograph courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr

The photograph above was clearly taken very shortly after the bridge was demolished as unsettled smoke and dust can clearly be seen.  Notice too the police presence which was probably there to keep people at a safe distance from the spectacle of the demolition of this bridge in Clayhanger.

Albert also demolished an abundance of air raid shelters, a range of old properties in and outside of Pelsall, filled in mine shafts and demolished old and redundant wells.

Photograph courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr

Albert Minton seen above after a good job was done.

Photograph courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr

Albert Minton and his wife, their wedding photograph can be seen next to the certificate on the wall

Photograph courtesy of Albert Minton Jnr

Presentation Evening - Albert Minton can be seen to the right in the photograph above

If you would like to share your memories of Albert Minton, please drop me a line