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Joe Steele

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I have run a search on here for this guy but it returned 'nothing found' so I hope I'm not repeating stuff! While browsing the net for local history stuff the other day, as I often do, I came across a series of photos, and an article, about this local man - Joe Steele - who was a Champion Eater! I'm fascinated, and have posted part of the article here. Did anyone on here know him? I'm thinking HPW may well have done!

"And one of the greatest fairground stars of them all � the world's champion eater.

Actually Joe Steele never displayed his talent at Dewsbury Feast. He made a show of his vast appetite at The Hoppings on Newcastle's Town Moor, one of the biggest annual fairs in the land.

While working as a journalist in Northumberland, infatuated with the glitz and glitter of fairs and fairgrounds, I made sure I was the one who got to interview Joe.

The pint-sized Bedlington miner had a formidable appetite. He once wolfed his way through a 52-course meal. In a sensational crunching session he gulped down 35 packets of crisps in under an hour without taking a drink.

That won him an entry in the record books, along with such great names as Georges Grogmet, a Belgian who gobbled up 44 boiled eggs in 30 minutes, and Philip Yazdzik of the United States who ate 77 hamburgers at a sitting.

Joe Steele went to Paris to match his eating capacity against the French champion. French chefs served up a 52-course gourmet's delight.

"I don't know what it all was," Joe told me. "The menu was in French. I think there was a boar's head, caviar, all kinds of fish. All I know is I ate it."

The French champion conceded defeat long before the final course was served. "He said he thought I was a glutton," Joe grinned.

Joe, then a miner at Choppington Colliery, began his lusty eating career at the age of 18 by downing a record number of black puddings. During his annual holidays he was a special attraction at the Hoppings fair. There he devoured 121bs of raw sausages and 2� lbs of raw tripe every day for a week. In his long career he never once had indigestion.

I interviewed Joe on a sad day in his life. He was setting down knife, fork and spoon to retire from competitive eating. "I think I could still hold it all in my stomach," he said proudly. Then added with profound regret "My teeth have gone. I've only got six left."

When Joe's wife made a cup of tea he refused a biscuit.

How did a man who never weighed much over 11 stone manage to cope with such fantastic quantities of food?

"The way I'm made," said Joe. "That's all there is to it."

The site where those glittering Dewsbury Feasts were held when I was a boy is now occupied by a supermarket, a shopping centre, a petrol station. They can't bury memories under concrete though. The sights, sounds and smells of the fair live on, sharp and vivid in the mind.

Every town deserves a good Feast. Though in these weight-watching days we're probably never going to see another feasting giant to match Joe Steele."

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i knew this man - in a very distant way - as in I knew the name and he came to our house- he was a champion eater- I seem to think he drank at the 'gate' club as well as the grapes

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The Howard Arms gets an entry in the Bedlington Timeline document compiled by local historians :- 1956 Joe Steel, Bedlington’s champion eater was at it again. The then 42 year old munched his way through a 4 1/2 Ib steak and kidney pie about 1 foot in diameter and 3 1/2 inches deep in 17 1/2 minutes. to break another record and gain another championship by beating 24 year old Ted Stoddard of Ashington. The event was held in the Howard Arms, Bedlington on Monday August 6th.

58a753f30c684_JoeSteelcomp.thumb.jpg.efcbbd161b931b1227db5b6efe0d8f82.jpg

On the 23rd February 2016 this post was made on the Facebook group Bedlington Renenbered by Stephen Steel :-   my great great grandfather joe steel bedlington sausage eating champion 1960's

8 hours ago, Canny lass said:

Any idea when he lived, Mercury? The name is familiar to me but maybe it's just something I've heard in my childhood.

James Craik I remember Joe from Waverly avenue. Young Joe still lives there. Big family still in Bedlington. Nice bloke, my dad used to tell me about him eating sausage and he travelled to France to win an eating competition.

Other comments on sixtownships group :-

Lawrence Pattison  :- He went to the Town Moor Hoppings and people paid to see him eat

Robert Nicholson  :- Joe used to enter all types of food eating compatitions at the Howard.

Scott Campbell :- My grandma was barmaid at the Howard and she remembers the eating and drinking competitions. Often talks about them.

Mike Irvine Lived opposite my parents on Millbank Road, could also eat pies by the plate full.

 

 

Edited by Eggy1948
Moving compilation photograph from uploaded position to between the text

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Hi all!

Although I never knew Joe personally, [A] 'Cos I was a teetotaller and never drank or went into pubs or clubs..except to entertain. In the 50's I was too young to know,and in thi 60's I was courting seriously and entertaining,still.

Joe was always either in the Ashington Post or Blyth News,or Chronicle,with his feats,and I was always under thi impression that his record crisp-eating was 53 packets in under an hour without a drink.

His Son,young Joe,lived next door to my Marra,who was to become my Best Man at my wedding,this was in 1967.That was at the bottom of the Beattie and Haig roads,on Millbank Road.

As time went by,in the 1980's a young lad came down Bates Pit,called Jimmy Steele,a strong,powerful young'un,and a gud hard worker underground in bad conditions.

He is a "distant"relation to old Joe,and is now living and working in Perth,Australia.

He got into contact with me after nearly thirty years [since Bates closed],through visiting the Flickr site and seeing my Bates pit pics!

He is the only Steele of that family I knew.

The amount of pies that old Joe went through in a session was incredible,according to what we used to hear and read of in those days!

Edited by HIGH PIT WILMA
Insertion of text

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Thanks for all this! I am truly fascinated by this story. I asked a friend of mine - Charlie Kyle - in the pub the other day if he knew Joe, and sure enough, he did! His comment was 'he was like Desperate Dan, could eat pies in no time!'. Great stuff!

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January 2 this year,  on Bedlington Remembered, Ian Foster posted a picture taken in Bedlington Social Club 1974. One of the men is identified as Joe Steel. Could it be the same one?

Edited by Canny lass
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Dredging through what is left of my memory - I recall being told that in one of the competitions there was a full cooked pigs head as a table centre piece - complete with apple in the mouth etc. (it may have been in France) and Joe munched through his allotted amount of pies, sausages or whatever the competition was and finished well head of the others - the tale goes that he then reached for the pigs head.... with the immediate effect of the other competitor/competitors - passing out - throwing up or just walking away....

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2 hours ago, Canny lass said:

January 2 this year,  on Bedlington Remembered, Ian Foster posted a picture taken in Bedlington Social Club 1974. One of the men is identified as Joe Steel. Could it be the same one?

Don't think so CL - I would say that's his son at the Market Place club, 1974. For eating & drinking of various luxury goods, around 1956, at The Howard Arms the then Guiness World Record holder is said to have been 47. But I could be totally wrong.     

15747627_10154983147832079_5421376726153904815_n.jpg

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1 hour ago, pilgrim said:

full cooked pigs head as a table centre piece - complete with apple in the mouth etc.

Could have been Sweden at Christmas!

1 hour ago, Eggy1948 said:

Don't think so CL - I would say that's his son at the Market Place club, 1974. For eating & drinking of various luxury goods, around 1956, at The Howard Arms the then Guiness World Record holder is said to have been 47. But I could be totally wrong.    

Thanks Eggy! Actually, I think I recognise the lower picture. I knew the name was familiar. I think he was a friend of my late brother so his name has probably been heard a few times in my younger days - talking 50s here.

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1 hour ago, joseph steel said:

my name is joe steel the photos were took in the howard arms in the market place bedlington this is my granddad who brought me and my brother brian up and we are very proud of him .the middle photo is our real dad also called joe steel.hope this helps a little bit

Cheers Joseph - :D - I've just been trying to convince a couple of people on the Bedlington Facebook group sites that I expected the photo of your granda with the yard of ale would have been taken in The Howard Arms.  One was convinced it was The Blue Bell!. Now I can put them all right:thumbsup:

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On ‎20‎/‎02‎/‎2017 at 13:58, Eggy1948 said:
16 hours ago, Eggy1948 said:

Cheers Joseph - :D - I've just been trying to convince a couple of people on the Bedlington Facebook group sites that I expected the photo of your granda with the yard of ale would have been taken in The Howard Arms.  One was convinced it was The Blue Bell!. Now I can put them all right:thumbsup:

Don't think so CL - I would say that's his son at the Market Place club, 1974. For eating & drinking of various luxury goods, around 1956, at The Howard Arms the then Guiness World Record holder is said to have been 47. But I could be totally wrong.     

15747627_10154983147832079_5421376726153904815_n.jpg

to canny lass joe steel livedin bedlington and was born on july 18th 1913 but unfortunally he died on 22 December 1977

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the middle photo is from 1974 is joe steels son who is now not with us.i am young joes son and third joe steel in family. there are lots of photos of my grandad on bedlington sites that's how I found them.

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Hi Joe and welcome to the forum.

It's your grandfather I recognise in the last picture. My brother wasn't born until 1928 (died 1963) so your grandfather would be 15 years older. That would fit in with the picture i have in my head of a man who occasionally came to our house in Netherton sometime in the fifties. My brother also used th Howard Arms as a regular drinking place. Possibly they knew each other from the pub. Did your grandfather play darts at all?. It was a big passion of my brother - darts team perhaps?

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4 hours ago, Canny lass said:

Hi Joe and welcome to the forum.

It's your grandfather I recognise in the last picture. My brother wasn't born until 1928 (died 1963) so your grandfather would be 15 years older. That would fit in with the picture i have in my head of a man who occasionally came to our house in Netherton sometime in the fifties. My brother also used th Howard Arms as a regular drinking place. Possibly they knew each other from the pub. Did your grandfather play darts at all?. It was a big passion of my brother - darts team perhaps?

I am not sure if he played darts but his son my real dad did and was very good at it I think he played for the howard arms at one time

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Hi Joe,welcome to the forum!

Ye wadn't hae been the little bugger hoo swore at me and spat at me when a waaked up me marra's garden path ti seek him....wad ye?!.....[aroond 1961-ish!!!]

Young Joe lived next door ti me marra,and the two little we'ens were aalwis playing in the garden,and that day,one of the we'ens did just that for nae reason!!......

.....little bugga!![mind he wudda ownly been aboot 2 or 3 years aad!! heh heh!....kids will be kids..!]

Aav just been asking  Brian if Jimmy Steel is any relation,a Bates Pit Marra who went ti live in Australia a few years ago? [on a different page..]

Cheers mate!

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