Reverend J. M. Braithwaite

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Reverend J. M. Braithwaite

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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.


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