Richard Lambert Jones (1783 – 1863)

Richard Lambert Jones was born in 1783. He had a plumbing, painting and glazing business at Little Moorfields and later worked as an estate agent at 40 Little Moorfields (1825 – 33).

Lambert Jones was elected Common Councilman for Cripplegate Without in 1819. He remained a Councilman until his death at the age in 80.

His principal claim to fame is that it was his efforts which led to the establishment of the Guildhall Library. He proposed the following motion to the Court of Common Council on 8th April 1824: “That it be referred to a Special Committee to enquire and examine into the best mode of arranging and carrying into effect, in the Guildhall, a Library of all matters relating to this City, the Borough of Southwark, and the County of Middlesex.” The motion was carried and the library was established. Lambert Jones was Chairman of the Library Committee for nineteen years.

He was also Chairman of the Special Committee appointed by the Corporation of London to rebuild London Bridge. The bridge was opened on 1st August 1831, by King William IV. Lambert Jones was particularly proud of the fact that at the reception after the ceremony, the king had a glass of wine with him.

The Royal Exchange Building was burnt down in 1838. Once again, Lambert Jones was appointed chairman of the committee of the Corporation of London and the Mercers’ Company, who had jointly taken on the responsibility of re-erecting the Exchange. On 17th January 1842 Prince Albert the Prince Consort laid the foundation stone. Afterwards there was a banquet at Mansion House. Lambert Jones sat opposite the Duke of Wellington.

This time his particular source of pride was that he was the only person with whom the Iron Duke had a drink at dinner. In fact, this was such a social coup, that the Lord Mayor reported on it to the Court of Aldermen at their next meeting. On 28th October 1844, the newly re-built Royal Exchange was opened by Queen Victoria and Albert. This time, Lambert Jones was proud to report, he was allowed to kiss the hand of the queen.

While Chairman of the London Bridge Committee, Lambert Jones also presented a report to the Common Council recommending the construction of a viaduct, so traffic could avoid the steep decline from Holborn Hill. This resulted in the Holborn Viaduct.

In 1846, the Lord Mayor convened a public meeting at the Mansion House “to consider the propriety of taking some steps to present Richard Lambert Jones with a testimonial, in consideration of the public services which he had rendered, especially in connection with the improvements of the metropolis.” On this occasion, taking him out for a drink was clearly not enough. A committee was formed of which the Alderman of Cripplegate Ward was a member. An artist named Behnes made a marble bust of Lambert Jones. A commemorative gold medal was struck with a portrait of Lambert Jones on one side and an inscription on the other, which read: “Presented by his grateful fellow citizens, to commemorate exertions by which the City of London was improved and art encouraged, health and conveniences promoted.” It is not know which conveniences he supervised. There was a surplus of subscriptions which were used to found a Lambert Jones scholarship at the City of London School. This scholarship still contributes to school prizes.

He lived for many years at Highbury, in North London, and died 16th August, 1863.