All collections » Tokens » "MAYOR OF GARRAT - JEFFERY DUNSTAN"
The obverse depicts a bow-legged dwarf in a worn T-shirt and shirt; his right hand holds a bag slung over his shoulder, and with his left he draws attention. Circle legend: "S IR .JEFFERY DUNSTAN MAYOR OF GARRAT"Middlesex Hall's Halfpeny DH315c
reverse side, a circular inscription: “TO BE HAD AT THE CURIOCITY HOUSE CITY
ROAD” and in the center: “NEAR FUNSBURY SQUARE LONDON 1795.”
Edge is smooth.
Engraver: Dixon, manufacturer: Latvich. Released 2 cwts.
Geoffrey was found on the doorstep of the churchwarden of St Dunstan in 1759 in east London. He was wrapped in an expensive robe, and most likely was the child of a wealthy man who decided to abandon him.
Geoffrey was brought up in the workhouse of the parish church of the aforementioned parish until the age of twelve, after which he was apprenticed to a fruit merchant, but soon fled to Birmingham, where he worked in several factories. Shortly after returning to London in 1776, he entered into a sacred marriage bond with the beauty of St. Giles, by whom he had two beautiful daughters, whom he called Miss Polly and Miss Nancy. The latter was elevated to "Lady Anne" after she married "Lord Thompson", a scavenger from Bentag Green, where Sir Geoffrey lived until his death.
Geoffrey was about 4 feet tall, with crooked legs, a large head, and, in addition to his grotesque appearance, had a hideous personality; when he saw girls around him, he could spit in their faces, with the words "go about your business." He was a traveling dealer in old wigs, and his unusual appearance and the funny manner with which he pressed his hand to his mouth and shouted "old wigs" always attracted crowds of people in the streets chasing him.
Due to his appearance and manner, in 1781 Geoffrey proved to be the most popular candidate for mayor of Garratt ever to stand in the election, so he was re-elected twice in 1785 and 1790. The title "Sir" was part of burlesque and was treated with unbridled respect by the public. He frequented London taverns and parodied campaign speeches mixed with the screams of London barkers. For more on Garratt's mayoral election, see Garratt's Funny Mayoral Election .
Thomas Hall, a taxidermist, has exhibited his collection of stuffed birds and animals for many years at his home in City Road, Finsbury. For several years in a row he invited Geoffrey Dunstan to accompany his exhibition at the annual Bartholomew Fair Animal Fair, held in Spitalfields since the Middle Ages, where the latter played the role of barker, shouting out invitations in his comical manner.
In 1793, at the height of the French Revolution, Dunstan was tried and imprisoned for sedition and slander, but was soon released.
In 1797, Geoffrey was having fun with friends and drinking more than usual. At the end of the evening, he was loaded into a wheelbarrow and taken to the threshold of his own house, where he died a few hours later, choking on vomit. There was a suspicion that the corpse hunters had mixed something into alcohol in order to then sell his deformed body to anatomists. There was an attempt to steal the body from the room, and when it was already halfway out the window, it was noticed and the alarm was raised. Then one of the body hunters tried to stop the burial, posing as a relative from Ireland, but was exposed. To protect the body from theft, a grave 10 feet deep was dug near the north wall of the guardhouse of St. Mary's Church, Whitechapel. The head of the coffin was buried under the railing of the church and the footpath. His wife rests at his feet, and one of his daughters is nearby.