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Besley joined the Fann Street Foundry in 1838. The Fann Street Foundry, in Fann Street, City of London, was also home of typographer William Thorowgood, the first to use the term "Grotesque" to describe a Sans-Serif typeface and the first to design one in lower case with his Seven Line Grotesque.
When Besley created Clarendon he had it patented, as England just passed a bill allowing that. The typeface became so popular, though, that the copyright was soon broken by people creating knock-offs. Still known as the first Registered typeface. 
He then went on to become Sheriff of the City of London in 1863 and the Lord Mayor of London in 1869.
- Image of Besley as Lord Mayor of London
- A political cartoon of Besley and fellow members of the Corporation of London
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