Albert Pierrepoint, Groves & Whitnall Licensee...
From the many inn's owned by Groves & Whitnall their licensee Albert Pierrepoint deserves a special mention, originally from Bradford, Albert Pierrepoint's brewery connections began in 1946 when he quit working for a grocer to become licensee of the Groves & Whitnall inn Help The Poor Struggler alehouse at 303 Manchester Road, then a drab tram track to Oldham. Described by regulars at the time as a cheerful character, his humble pub was soon subject to visits from coaches full of sightseeing tourists.
By then Albert was something akin to a modern-day celebrity for being the third member of his family - following in the footsteps of his father, Henry, and brother, Tom - to hold the macabre position of Britain's chief executioner. considerable remuneration 'by the neck' came his way for the job but another reason his father had recommended it was the opportunities for continental travel. in the years following the end of the Second World War, Albert became widely seen as a populist avenger of Nazi crimes after it was revealed he visited Germany to execute 200 war criminals found guilty at Nuremberg.
Among his clients then was Josef Kramer 'The Beast of Belsen' and - hanging women individually and men in pairs - he once notched a personal record of 17 executions in a single day. another port of call was Gibraltar, where he executed spies, and Albert even carried out the last-ever execution in the Republic of Ireland, taking Michael Manning's life in 1954. visitors to his Oldham pub hoping for anecdotes and yarns were to be disappointed, however, by a painfully discrete man who didn't even tell his wife, Anne, about his part-time job until after they were married.
In all, between 1932 and 1956, Albert's egregious part-time job saw him end the lives of an estimated 433 men and 17 women, marking the final act in some of the most infamous criminal cases tried in this country. Necrophiliac multiple murderer John Christie, acid bath murderer John George-Haigh and former Glodwick resident William Joyce (aka Lord Haw Haw), the Nazi broadcaster, all had celebrated appointments with Pierrepoint.
He was also involved in controversial cases such as that of Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in Britain, and Derek Bentley, executed for his part in the murder of PC Sidney Miles despite having a mental age of 11, just as the public mood turned against capital punishment in the Fifties. according to the new film about his life, it was one remarkably personal case that definitively changed the mind of the hangman himself.
On November 28, 1950, Albert visited Strangeways prison, Manchester, to carry out the grim task of hanging James Corbett. The man had murdered his girlfriend in a fit of jealous rage, strangling her and daubing the word 'whore' across her forehead in indelible ink.
Albert and Anne Pierrepoint retired to the seaside town of Southport, where he died on 10 July 1992 in a nursing home where he had lived for the last four years of his life