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Councillor Archer

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One of the Trades council pictures taken by Archer   Drawing - newspaper illustration of a rowdy meeting
Archer's job involved photographing local dignitaries who would become his colleagues and friends
Copyright © Wandsworth Local History Service
  The Great Battersea anti-vivisection debate
Daily Graphic 15/01/1908
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Battersea Town Hall    
Battersea Town Hall: the centre of Archer's life and work
Copyright © Wandsworth Local History Service
   

In 1906 Archer opened a photographic studio at 214 Battersea Park Road, later moving to 208 Battersea Park Road. In November of the same year he was elected to Battersea Borough Council as a councillor for Latchmere ward. At his first Council meeting he was appointed to the Baths, Health and Works Committees. Later on he joined the Board of Guardians, which supervised public health and welfare, then became Chair of the Baths Committee, and he subsequently maintained a lifelong interest in the Nine Elms Swimming Club.

In its August 1907 issue the Socialist Council's house journal Battersea Vanguard commented sarcastically about Archer's interest in India, suggesting that "our brilliant townsman" should take "another trip round the world to improve his political judgement". This was merely part of the knockabout local politics in which Archer was engaged, and Battersea's Great Vivisection debate was a typical example.

In Battersea there was strong support for the anti-vivisection movement, led by the Trades and Labour Council, and local activists had erected a statue of a brown dog in protest. Pro-vivisectionists, buttressed by a crowd of vociferous medical students, campaigned to have it removed. A public meeting was held in Battersea Town Hall on 13 January 1908. John Archer moved a resolution refusing to remove either the statue or its anti-vivisectionist inscription. Rev. Dr. Wauschauer denounced the medical students. "If the drunkard is demoralised by drink, the medical student is demoralised by the practice of vivisection." Two pro-vivisectionists moved an amendment that the inscription on the statue was false and should be removed. This provoked the stormiest scene of a lively evening, and several medical students were in the words of The Daily Graphic "unceremoniously bundled out by the stewards, who numbered over three hundred [!]".

Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips

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