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John Archer’s early life

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Photo of John Archer   View of Liverpool
"The coloured mayor" - the newspapers retouched Archer's photo, lightening his skin
Daily Express 11/11/1913

Copyright © Daily Express
  Liverpool in the 19th century from the Wirral: W.J. Bennett (c.1817)
British Library K.Top.18, 76h
Copyright © The British Library Board

John Richard Archer was born on 8 June 1863 at 3 Blake Street, Liverpool, the son of Richard Archer and his wife Mary Theresa Burns. Richard was a ship's steward from Barbados, and his wife Mary Theresa was illiterate, making her mark with an X on the birth certificate. She was an Irish Catholic, the faith in which John grew up and remained for the rest of his life.

When he was elected Mayor of Battersea 50 years later, John replied to press speculation about where he might have come from with the remark that he had been born - "in a little obscure village in England probably never heard of until now - the city of Liverpool". He went on to declare - "I am a Lancastrian bred and born".

Characteristically pugnacious, but he had been stung by reports which, guessing wildly, said that he had been born in Rangoon or somewhere in India. He was actually part of the already well-established black population in Liverpool. Blake Street, his birthplace, has now been long demolished, but at the time, it was located in the heart of the city, at the bottom of Mount Pleasant, near the Brownlow Hill Workhouse, an area densely populated with labourers and tradespeople, predominantly Irish, many of them sailors, or connected with shipping. In the decade of the 1860s the Archer family shuttled back and forth between No.7 and No.3 Blake Street , where John Archer was born. There were two other households occupying No.3, and the family had two lodgers, a 50-year-old sailor and a Scottish ship's keeper.

Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips

Battersea and Archer's entry into local politics Next - 'Battersea and Archer's entry into local politics'

Introduction Introduction
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Dumas Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
John Archer
 
 
 
Discover more:
Introduction
Introduction
Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin
Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower
George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
John Archer
John Archer
Background and early life
'Battersea and Archer's entry into local politics'
Battersea and Archer's entry into local politics
Councillor Archer
Councillor Archer
The mayoral election
The mayoral election
A victory such as never has been gained before
"A victory such as never has been gained before"
Race and politics
Race and politics
Life and Politics and Labour
Life and politics and Labour
A multitude of friends - death of John Archer
"A multitude of friends" - death of John Archer
 
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