John Archer

In 1913 John Archer (1863–1932) became the first black mayor of London with his election as mayor of Battersea. He was a Pan-Africanist, striving for equality and the empowerment of ethnic minorities.

“They will look at Battersea, and say, ‘It is the greatest thing you have done. You have shown you have no racial prejudice, but recognise a man for what you think he has done”, said Archer as part of his acceptance speech.

Too often Black Britons are pigeonholed and undervalued for their contributions towards societal change. Within this ballpoint pen portrait, drawn on 1930’s antique texts, I look to pay homage to a true pioneer. He is not only a significant figure within Black British history but should be appreciated within the wider context of the history of Britain’s capital.