John English was born at Kogarah, Sydney, in 1857, son of Edmund and Elizabeth English. In 1878 he married Jane Devine (died 1927) at Glebe and they had three sons and four daughters. One son, John Richard English (1884-1929) also became a City Alderman. John English senior died at Strathfield on 8 March 1919.
Occupation & interests
John English started in his father’s business as a market gardener. He was apprenticed to a city merchant tailor and became manager. He set up his own long-running business as mercer and tailor in George Street, Haymarket. English helped introduce early closing in Sydney’s hotels. He was a member of the Haymarket Progress Association. He lived in Wigram Road, Glebe, before moving to Homebush Road, Strathfield, where he lived until his death.
Local government service
John English was elected Alderman for Belmore Ward from 1 December 1904 until his death in office on 8 March 1919. He was a member of the Works Committee in 1906 and 1909-18, the Street Signs Special Committee in 1906 and 1908, the Health and By-Laws Committee, 1907-12 and the Finance Committee, 1913-18. He was a member of the Protectionist Party before joining the Labor Party. He later broke with the Labor Party and lost his seat from 1910 to 1916. He fought for re-endorsement and was re-elected, becoming Lord Mayor in 1919. He died while in office.
City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files; Photos: CRS 54/251; 54/267/ 54/308; CRS 51/16/1563; THC 88/372
Daily Telegraph 10 December 1918
Gibbney, H J & Smith, Ann G 1987, A Biographical Register 1788-1939, ANU