Subject(s): Willie Carr
Location: Keel Row Shopping Mall, Blyth, Northumberland
Sculptor: Philip Blacker
Status: In Situ
Plaque: The WORLD'S STRONGEST MAN. Willie Carr was born on the 3rd of April 1758 and soon after his birth moved with his parents to Blyth. By the age of 30 he stood at 6ft 4ins and weighed 24 stone. Capable of great feats of strength his ‘party trick’ was to jump a five barred gate with his wife underarm. Willie, a blacksmith like his father, could work for long hours without a break: he once laboured for 132 consecutive hours, slept for 12 hours then worked for a further 120 hours. He became famous for making harpoons for the whaling fleet that sailed from North Shields to Greenland: once, upon missing the carrier, he picked up a box of harpoons weighing over 1cwt, and carried them upon his shoulder walking to “Shields” drinking 84 glasses of gin on the way. Besides his great strength, Willie was a prize fighter of great renown who fought and beat the best England could offer. Nevertheless, he was a highly respected, kind and gentle man who died in his bed on 6 September 1825.