WILLIE CARR OF BLYTH
Mr. William Carr of Blyth was, when in his prime, a prodigy of strength. He truly was the most remarkable man the town could ever boast of, and was the greatest sight Blyth had to show to strangers. Numbers of people came from great distances to get a sight of him.
He was born at Hartley Old Engine, April 3rd, 1766, but shortly after his birth his parents removed to Blyth, where Willie’s mother, Frances, died in 1769 when Willie was only three years of age. His father was a master blacksmith, and at the early age of eleven years Willie was apprenticed to his father. When in his full vigour and prime he was unquestionably the strongest man in the United Kingdom, if not in the world.
When only seventeen years of age, he was 6 foot 3 inches in height, weighed 16 stones, and could easily lift seven or eight hundredweight. As a youth, he could throw a 661 pound weight with a smaller one attached to it, either before or behind him a distance of eight yards.
He was once challenged to a trial of muscular power with the celebrated Mick Downey, but on finding that the “Blyth Samson” had appeared on the scene, and was eager for the fray, Mick prudently shrunk from the encounter.
On reaching thirty years of age Carr weighed 24 stone and was 6 foot 4 inches in height. There have been far heavier men than Carr, and one of the Huggups of North Seaton was at least three inches taller, but Carr’s bulk was constituted of bone and muscle covered with a moderate quantity of flesh. Every part of his giant frame was fully developed with the most perfect symmetry, and he was good-looking even in old age. On seeing him, you were struck not so much with his great height, as with the depth and fullness of his chest, and the great breadth of his shoulders, and when young he was as agile as he was strong.
On one occasion he leapt over a five-barred gate with a young woman 115 pound in weight under his arm! About this period of life his power of withstanding long-continued labour without fatigue was proved by the fact of his having wrought one hundred and thirty-two consecutive hours, without rest; and after twelve hours of rest, working for one hundred and twenty hours longer. This he did on different occasions in repairing engines at Hartley, Plessey, and Bedlington.