Collection AR159 - Illuminated List of Subscribers to Portrait of Jabez Spencer Balfour, 1St Mayor of Croydon

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Illuminated List of Subscribers to Portrait of Jabez Spencer Balfour, 1St Mayor of Croydon


  • September 1885 (Creation)

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1 vol

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Biographical history

Jabez Spencer Balfour was born in Leith in 1834. Balfour was the most popular man in Croydon up to the years 1892, after which he was the most reviled. When Balfour moved to Croydon he lived at London Road then later at Wellesley House which stood approximately where Wellesley Road multi-storey car park is now. After Balfour took an interest in practically every movement in the town he was a natural choice for Charter Mayor in 1883. Balfour soon became top of the list for Burgesses of the Central Ward. Balfour became associated with a group of companies of which the Liberator Building Society was the principal one whoever this society failed in 1892 and Balfour fled to South America as a result of this. Due to the collapse of this society many thousands of small savers had lost their life savings. It wasnt until this happened and he fled to South America that the public found out he had swindled a huge number of people out of a huge sum of money through this building society. Balfour was eventually caught in South America, tried and sentenced to 14 years hard labour and was jailed on 28th November 1895. Balfour was accused of and found guilty of fraud. He was released in 1906 and died in 1916.

Archival history

Transferred from the Local Studies Library, ref. fS70 (92) BAL

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Accession Number: A426

Illuminated list of subscribers to portrait of J S Balfour, first Mayor of Croydon

Portrait was hung in the Council Chamber, and a replica presented to Balfour.

Item date: September 1885

Accession date: 27/11/1999

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Scope and content

An illuminated address which accompanied a portrait of J. Spencer Balfour which had been painted by public subscription. The portrait and address were presented to J. Spencer Balfour at a meeting of the Town Council at the Town Hall on 5th October 1885 by the Reverend J. M. Braithwaite, Vicar of Croydon.

The address reads, In unveiling the Portrait of yourself now placed in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall of Croydon, as a permanent memorial of your Mayoralty, we, whose names are hereto attached, sesire to record our high appreciation of the distinguished services which you rendered to the Borough during your prolonged term of office, and we further beg your acceptance of a replica of the portrait, together with a small token of our regard to Miss Balfour who afforded you so much graceful in the assistance in the exercise of your generous hospitality. It is followed by 186 names.

Two copies of the portrait were made; one was presented to Balfour while the other was hung in Council Chamber of the Town Hall.

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  • English

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