Polydore de Keyser
Sir Polydore de Keyser (13 December 1832–14 January 1898), was a lawyer and the first Roman Catholic since the Reformation to be elected Lord Mayor of London (October 1887–November 1888). He was born in the Belgian city of Dendermonde, near Ghent, Belgium.
He came to England sometime before 1849 and became a naturalized English citizen in 1853. He founded the 400-room Royal Hotel, later to be called the De Keyser's Royal Hotel, and personally ran it from 1856 to 1887. It was built on the site of Bridewell Palace, London, and demolished in 1929 to make way for Unilever House.
De Keyser belonged to several different City companies (Spectacle Makers, Farriers, Butchers, Innholders, Poulterers, Gold and Silver Wire Drawers) and was a governor of Bridewell, Bethlem and St. Bartholomew's Hospitals. He married the eldest daughter Louise of M.J. Pieron in 1862. De Keyser served as Sheriff of London and Middlesex 1882–83 and was elected alderman to represent Farringdon Without on the Court of Common Council.
He was knighted on 4 December 1888. While visiting Brussels and his home town Dendermonde in 1888 he was honored with the production of two cantatas by the Belgian composer Peter Benoit. (Welkom der Stad Brussel aan den Hoogachtbaren Heer Polydoor De Keyser, Lord-Major van Londen and Heilgroet aan den Hoogachtbaren Heer Polydoor De Keyser, Lord-Major van Londen, in zijn vaderstad Dendermonde).
The De Keyser's Royal Hotel had approximately 400 rooms and was mostly used by foreigners visiting London, including Americans, Dutch, French and Belgians. (De Keyser himself could speak six languages.) It depended almost entirely on this clientele for its success, but were also used for large banquets among City companies. The hotel is known from the case Attorney General v De Keyser's Royal Hotel Ltd.
- Gerry R. Rubin. Private property, government requisition and the Constitution, 1914-1927. p. 72. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- Gerry R. Rubin. Private property, government requisition and the Constitution, 1914–1927. p. 71. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- The London Encyclopaedia by Christopher Hibbert, Ben Weinreb, Julia Keay, John Keay, 3rd Revised Edition (2010), p.183.
- De Keyser's Royal Hotel, Victoria Embankment, London
Sir Reginald Hanson, Bt
| Lord Mayor of London
1887 – 1888
Sir James Whitehead, Bt