Widely credited with being the driving force behind the modern development of East Ham, John Harvey Bethell (September 23, 1861 – May 27, 1945), was elected in 1888 as the first Progressive member of the East Ham Urban District Council, sitting as the first mayor in 1904. He also sat on the West Ham UDC where he also served as mayor. He retired from the local council in 1907. He is most noted for helping, along with William H Savage, the district surveyor for East Ham, and local landowner Col. Ynyr Henry Burges, to create Central Park, in reaction to the large-scale development that was taking place around the docks.
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