Dr. Allan Glaisyer Minns (1858–1930)
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.
The research continues and the NNREC hopes to produce a new set of panels to add to their Norfolk Roots of the Future exhibition.
Norfolk BHM 2009 included an illustrated talk, featuring original documents, into the Minns Family Contribution to Thetford and the Nation.