Clark, Richard (1739-1831) (DNB00)

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CLARK, RICHARD (1739–1831), city chamberlain, was born in the parish of St. Botolph-without-Aldgate in March 1789. He was admitted an attorney, and obtained a considerable practice in his profession. In 1776 he was elected the alderman of the Broad Street ward on the resignation of Alderman Hopkins, and in the following year served the office of sheriff. At the bye election in September 1781, occasioned by the death of Alderman Hayley, he contested the vacant seat for the city but was defeated by Sir Watkin Lewes, the lord mayor, by 2,685 to 2,387. In 1784 Clark was elected lord mayor, and on 19 May 1785 was appointed president of Christ’s Hospital. On the death of Wilkes he was elected chamberlain of London, 2 Jan. 1798. In the same year he resigned his posts of alderman and president of Christ's Hospital, and was appointed president of Bridewell.

He was fond of mixing in literary society, and in 1785 was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. At the age of fifteen he was introduced by Sir John Hawkins to to Dr. Johnson, whose suppers at the Mitre Tavern in Fleet Street he used frequently to attend. He was also a member of the Essex Head Club, for which he had been proposed by Johnson himself. In 1776 Clarke married Margaret, the daughter of John Pistor, a woollendraper in Aldersgate, by whom he left two sons. In 1774 he purchased the Porch House in Guildford Street, Chertsey, famous as the last residence of Cowley the poet. Here Clark lived during the latter days of his life. He died at Chertsey on 16 Jan. 1831, in his ninety-second year, having held the post of chamberlain for thirty-three years. His bust, executed by Sievier in 1829, and his portrait, painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence are in the possession of the corporation at Guildhall.

[Gent Mag. (1831), ci. (pt. i.) 184-6, 652; Boswell's Johnson (Croker). iv. 202 n., v. 148; Brayley's Surrey (1850), ii. 216-17; Trollope's Christie Hospital (1831), p. 345. For a list of those who were presented with the honorary freedom of the city while Clark was chamberlain, see London's Roll of Fame (1884), chap. vi.]

G. F. R. B.