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Henry Harben

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Sir Henry Harben (24 August 1823 - 2 December 1911) was a businessman and politician.

Born in Bloomsbury, he was the son of a cheesemonger. In 1851 Harben he joined the board of the Prudential Mutual Assurance Investment and Loan Association, which had been struggling since its establishment in 1848. Harben, by reorganising the business, lobbying government and moving into providing services for the working classes, turned it into a highly profitable company. He rose to be deputy chairman in 1878, by which time the Prudential were insuring a quarter of the British population.

Harben became a wealthy and well-connected figure in the City of London, joining the livery of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters and was master of the company in 1893.

In 1865 Harben moved to Hampstead, and took part in the local government of the area. He was a member of the Hampstead Vestry, and was their representative on the Metropolitan Board of Works from 1880-89. When the Metropolitan Board was abolished he was elected to represent Hampstead, holding the seat until 1895. He was knighted in 1897.

When the Hampstead Vestry was replaced by the Metropolitan Borough of Hampstead in 1900, he was selected as the first Mayor of Hampstead.

In 1905 he became chairman of the Prudential, but ill health forced his resignation in 1907. He held the honorary office of president of the company until his death. He was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.

His son, Henry Andrade Harben (1848-1910) was also a director of the Prudential and London county councillor.

His Dictionary of National Biography page is at Wikisource [1]

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