John Archer was a member of Battersea council, one of the first people of African descent to be elected to public office and, in 1913 was the first black person to be elected as a Mayor in London.
In the run up to being elected Mayor there was much speculation about his ancestry with many people who opposed him being elected asking where he was born. Archer kept quiet about this issue, promising to tell everyone where he was from if he was elected. During his acceptance speech he famously said that he was born 'in a little obscure village in England probably never heard of until now - the city of Liverpool'
Until going into politics Archer had a variety of different jobs for example the 1901 census lists him as a singer and he working as photographer, also owning a photography shop, whilst living in Battersea.