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Sir Reuben Vincent Barrow (1838-1918)
Sir Reuben's association with Croydon commenced with his removal to the town in 1873, and a striking tribute to the popularity which he achieved is the fact that when Croydon was granted it's Borough Charter in 1883, Sir Reuben was returned to the first Council, heading the East Ward poll. He was chosen to be the borough's third Mayor in 1885.
He was elected a Liberal parliamentary candidate from 1892 to 1895. Party politics entered very keenly into those first elections, and the return of a vigorous Liberal to an essentially Conservative Ward was due to Mr. Barrow's personality, in fact it was a triumph typical of the man. He had occupied his seat only eight months when he persuaded the House to carry a resolution on equalisation of the rates throughout London. The Rating Act, based on Sir Reuben's policy, was carried, in spite of strenuous opposition from the wealthier and more influential metropolitan boroughs. This achievement assisted East London and other areas extensively. The Act is a standing and ever-increasing monument to the foresight and persistence of one man. He was also responsible for certain reforms in company law.
One of the senior members of the Borough Bench, Sir Reuben's magisterial fame rests upon his twenty-one years' chairman-ship of the County Magistracy. He was made a Freeman of Croydon in 1909 and was knighted in 1912.
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Saturday, 7 December, 2013