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John Bisseker

Entrepreneur, Town Councillor & Mayor

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
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It is with great sadness that we have to announce that the creator of The Labyrinth of East London Lore, Dr T., has passed away. Helping people through his website gave him no end of pleasure. If you had contact with him and would like to leave a message, please send us an e-mail here.

DEATH NOTICE: see Master's Office, Cape Town, No 67813.
OBITUARY: see the Daily Dispatch, 19.2.1940.

John Bisseker was born in England in March 1858 and emigrated to the Cape in April 1881, staying first at Port Elizabeth and then East London.

He established himself at East London as a wool merchant and was also the owner of a produce store on the Market Square. In addition to that, he was a stevedore, as well as the agent for the South British Fire and Marine Insurance Company. In 1907 he became a Justice of the Peace for East London.

Bisseker was deeply involved in education and was a guiding force in the establishment of the East London Technical College, serving as Chairman of its Council for many years. He also held the chair of the Social Welfare Association and was a member of the East London Hospital Board.

He became interested in the Town Council and was elected for Ward 4 in February 1901 but resigned in August 1903 because of ill health. He was re-elected in February 1905, this time in Ward 3. He did not seek re-election after his retirement on rotation in 1908.

Bisseker was elected Mayor in March 1907 but at a time when three seats were vacant. Since he had gained only a single vote majority, he resigned in May at a meeting of the full Council and called for a new election. He was not re-elected.

He died at East London on 17 February 1940, at the age of 81. John Bisseker High School is named after him.

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