Clockmakers Master liveryman Sir John Bennett Vanity Fair antique print. Sir John Bennett Kt FRAS (15 October 1814 – 3 July 1897) was a watchmaker and local politician. He was described by one biographer as a “flamboyant personality who seems to have aroused in his contemporaries varying degrees of ridicule, hostility, and admiration”. The eldest son of John Bennett, watchmaker, of Greenwich, he was educated at Colfe’s Grammar School, Lewisham. In 1846 he established his own business as a watchmaker at 65 Cheapside, in the City of London. Bennett was a Liveryman of the Spectaclemakers’, Clockmakers and Loriners’ companies, and served as Master of the Loriners in 1877 – 8. Bennett was a Common Councilman on the City of London Corporation for the ward of Cheap from 1862 – 89. In October 1872 he was elected to the London School Board to fill a casual vacancy in the representation of the City of London. Although he stood down from the school board at the election in 1873, he returned to serve a three-year term from 1876 – 79 and he served a further term 1885 – 1889. He was a Sheriff of London and Middlesex in 1871 and a Lord Lieutenant of the City of London, and was knighted as part of the celebrations for the recovery of the Prince of Wales from typhoid in the same year. In 1877 he was elected the alderman for Cheap ward, winning by a single vote. It was alleged that eight men who had voted for him had rented property solely to be able to vote and one of those eight admitted as much; the Recorder ruled that this did not invalidate the vote. His opponent then withdrew and Bennett was declared elected. The Court of Aldermen though, declaring him to be “not of fit character” to hold the office, refused to ratify his appointment. Notwithstanding, the Wardmote returned him twice more. On his third return, the Court of Aldermen declared his opponent duly elected, despite his having fewer votes cast in his favour than Bennett. After this third rejection, Bennett withdrew from the election. He unsuccessfully stood for parliament on three occasions; Greenwich (1873), Maldon (1874) and Wiltshire (1886).