Allan Glaisyer Minns

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Allan Glaisyer Minns (1858–1930) was the first black man to become a mayor in Britain.[1] He was elected Mayor of Thetford, Norfolk, in 1904.

John Archer, elected Mayor of Battersea in 1913, had been thought to be the first black man to hold this title. However, in reporting Archer's election, the American Negro Year Book 1914 (founded by Monroe Work) recorded that "In 1904 Mr Allen Glaisyer Minns, a col'd man from West Indies, was elected Mayor of borough of Thetford, Norfolk". He had been elected to the town council of Thetford in 1903 and served a two-year term as mayor from 1904.

The following extract is from Norfolk & Suffolk In East Anglia, Contemporary Biographies, W.T. Pike (1911):

"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. M.R.C.S. Eng; Lond. Medical Officer Thetford Workhouse & Thetford District of Thetford Union, Hon. Medical Officer Thetford Cottage Hospital. Member of the British M.A. & Norwich Medico Chirurgical Society; President of Horticultural Society; Mayor of Thetford 1904-05-06."

Dr Minns was registered with the British Medical Association on 14 February 1884. His qualifications were MRCS (1881), and LRCP (1884). He was based in Thetford from 1885 until 1923, when he moved to Dorking[2] where he died.

He was one of nine children of John Minns (1811–1863) and Ophelia (née Bunch, 1817 – 1902). His paternal grandfather, also John Minns, had emigrated circa 1801 from England to the Bahamas[3] where he married Rosette, a former African slave.[4]

His eldest brother, Dr Pembroke Minns (1840–1912), was already in medical practice in Thetford when he moved there.[5]

He was twice married; first to Emily Pearson in 1888 and secondly to Gertrude Ann Morton in 1896. He had children by both wives.

His son Allan Noel Minns, also a doctor, was one of the few black officers to serve in the British Army during the First World War.[6]