Rare pho­to­graph of ‘the world’s heav­i­est man’

The Chronicle - - Nostalgia -

WE marked the 140th an­niver­sary of a Ty­ne­side his­tor­i­cal cu­rios­ity in last Satur­day’s Chronicle.

On May 26, 1878, Wil­liam Camp­bell, the land­lord of the Duke of Welling­ton pub on New­cas­tle’s High Bridge died sud­denly up­stairs on the premises.

Glas­gow-born Camp­bell was nick­named the ‘Scot­tish gi­ant’ and spent time in a freak show.

By the time he ar­rived in New­cas­tle, he strug­gled to walk and claimed to be the ‘world’s heav­i­est man’ – weigh­ing a re­mark­able 52st.

22-year-old Camp­bell had only been man­ager of the Duke of Welling­ton - for­merly Stokoe’s Vaults - for six months when he passed away.

On the day of his funeral, his one-ton cof­fin had to be winched from the up­per floor of the pub, while thou­sands of cu­ri­ous on­look­ers lined the route to his rest­ing place at Jes­mond Ceme­tery.

In­ter­est­ingly, de­spite Camp­bell be­ing well­known in life, New­cas­tle his­to­rian Steve Ell­wood points out there is no head­stone on his grave to­day.

Thanks to Frank Saun­ders for send­ing us this rare post­card im­age of the hith­erto un­seen Wil­liam Camp­bell, the ‘Scot­tish gi­ant’.

Wil­liam Camp­bell, ‘the world’s heav­i­est man’, ran the Duke of Welling­ton pub in New­cas­tle’s High Bridge in the 1870s; right, the pub to­day

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