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The mayoral election

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Photo of children in Linda Street, Battersea   Middle picture of the Trades Council group taken by Archer
Children in Linda Street, Battersea (c.1905): Archer's constituents in Latchmere ward
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Copyright © Wandsworth Local History Service
  Battersea Trades Council photographed by John Archer: among the worthies who secured his election
Copyright © Wandsworth Local History Service

Against a background of factional squabbling, John Archer's progress in the political hierarchy was predictably chequered. In the November 1909 Council Elections the left-wing Alliance was voted out and John was one of the Progressives who failed to be re-elected. This was such a shock that the factions dropped their differences. The Progressive Alliance was reformed, re-gaining control in 1912 only by two votes. John was re-elected for Latchmere Ward, and the group elected him as Mayor for the period November 1913 to November 1914.

John Archer was not the first black mayor in Britain. That honour went to Allen Glaser Minns, a Bahamian doctor elected in Thetford, Norfolk in 1904. He was, however, the first to be elected in London, and the first to attract so much attention. "A thrill to novelty-loving London", the South Western Star commented, but Archer refused to allow his photograph to be taken without his consent. Some newspapers retaliated by finding old photos and reproducing them. The South Western Star reported that "No one in Battersea would recognise the Mayor Designate from some of these productions".

The Daily Telegraph said that he was born in Rangoon, Burmese by birth. "His features and colouring are eloquent of his origin, but his conversation shows no trace of accent, and he is a man of good education." The News Chronicle reported that Archer had "the bronzed skin and black hair of a Hindu or Parsee - he laughingly declines to say to what race he belongs, but one might place his forebears among the lighter people of India - and his well-dressed, well-groomed appearance is that of a busy and prosperous business man". In the end, Archer began his acceptance speech by pointing out that he was born in Liverpool .

Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips

A victory such as never has been gained before Next - 'A victory such as never has been gained before'

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
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
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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