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Besley became a partner in the Fann Street Foundry in 1838, having been employed there since 1826 . 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.
- A History of the Old English Letter Foundries, Talbot Baines Reed, 1887
- The First Sans Serif Graphic Design History, 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- Alexander Lawson's Anatomy of a Typeface on Google Books
- Article Archived 2008-08-23 at the Wayback Machine. on Popperfont.com, Fontlove section, by David Ng. Citing a thesis essay from Mitja Miklavcic, 2006.[dead link]
- Image of Besley as Lord Mayor of London
- A political cartoon of Besley and fellow members of the Corporation of London[dead link]
Sir James Lawrence, Bt
| Lord Mayor of London
1869 – 1870
Sir Thomas Dakin
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