Alfred Lafone

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Lafone in 1895.

Alfred Lafone (13 February 1821 – 26 April 1911)[1] was a British leather merchant and Conservative Party politician in London. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bermondsey from 1886 to 1892, and from 1895 to 1900.


Lafone was born in the West Derby area of Liverpool, the fourth son of Samuel Lafone.[2] He was educated privately,[2] and moved to Bermondsey in London where he joined the leather and hide factors business of Boutcher, Mortimore and Company.[3] In 1852 he married Jane Boutcher, daughter of William Boutcher of Grateley in Hampshire.[3] She died on 9 April 1885.[4]

He was elected in 1870 as a member of the London School Board,[3] and was re-elected in 1873.[5]

At the 1885 general election he unsuccessfully contested the new Bermondsey division of Southwark,[3] losing by only 83 votes (1.2% of the total) to the sitting Liberal MP Thorold Rogers.[6] He had been selected by the local Conservative Association in preference to John Dumphreys, who had been put forward as a Conservative working man's candidate.[7]

However, he defeated Rogers at the 1886 election,[8] taking the seat with a swing of 3.4%.[6] In 1888, he chaired a committee set up to raise funds for the establishment of a series of South London Polytechnics.[9] The first of the three institutes was Goldsmiths College in New Cross, which opened in 1891, followed in 1892 by the Borough Road Polytechnic, of which Lafone became a governor.[10]

By 1892 he had become a Justice of the Peace (JP) for Middlesex,[11] but at the 1892 general election he lost his seat in Parliament to the Liberal Party candidate Reuben Barrow, on a swing of 7.9%.[6]

He stood again in 1895, with the active support of the local Liberal Unionist Party.[12] On election day, his campaign was assisted by many loans of carriages, including from the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Yarborough, Lord Iveagh, and Baroness Burdett-Coutts.[13] The sitting Liberal MP, Reuben Barrow, was supported by processions of workingmen,[13] but Lafone regained the seat with a majority of 360 votes (4.4% of the total).[6]

Lafone retired from Parliament at the 1900 general election, on account of his "advanced age";[14] he was by then 79 years old.[1]

He died aged 90 on 26 April 1911, at his home in Hanworth Park, Feltham, having been ill for about four months.[15]


  1. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "B" (part 2)[self-published source][better source needed]
  2. ^ a b "New Members Of Parliament". The Times. London. 19 July 1895. p. 15. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Biographies Of Candidates. England And Wales". The Times. London. 30 June 1886. p. 5. 
  4. ^ "Deaths". The Times. London. 11 April 1885. p. 1. 
  5. ^ "The London School Board". The Times. London. 11 December 1873. p. 10. 
  6. ^ a b c d Craig, F. W. S. (1989) [1974]. British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 47. ISBN 0-900178-27-2. 
  7. ^ "Election Intelligence". The Times. London. 16 June 1885. p. 10. 
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25609. p. 3502. 20 July 1886.
  9. ^ "The Proposed South London Polytechnic". The Times. London. 18 July 1888. p. 7. 
  10. ^ "The Borough-Road Polytechnic". The Times. London. 23 September 1892. p. 6. 
  11. ^ "The General Election. Biographies Of Candidates, England And Wales, Shropshire.". The Times. London. 1 July 1892. p. 3. 
  12. ^ "Election Intelligence". The Times. London. 26 June 1895. p. 10. 
  13. ^ a b "News: London". The Times. London. 18 July 1895. p. 6. 
  14. ^ "The General Election. The Metropolis". The Times. London. 20 September 1900. p. 8. 
  15. ^ "Obituaries: Mr Alfred Lafone". The Times. London. 27 April 1911. p. 11. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thorold Rogers
Member of Parliament for Bermondsey
Succeeded by
Reuben Barrow
Preceded by
Reuben Barrow
Member of Parliament for Bermondsey
Succeeded by
Henry Cust