Charles Francis - Cement pioneer
Major A.J. Francis of Tunbridge Wells writes:
"My two greats grandfather, Charles Francis, set up a cement works at Nine Elms in 1809 and was one of the earliest pioneers of that industry. He and others amalgamated at the end of the century to form the present Blue Circle Group. The Guildhall Library contains two watercolour drawings of a house which he intended to have built for himself and family but this idea was shelved when his wife died in 1812 and instead he purchased a long lease of Belgrave House, Vauxhall. This house was on the south side of the Wandsworth road immediately opposite the turning into Nine Elms lane.
In 1829 he established the Eldon School which was built near Belgrave House and to commemorate Lord Eldon's stand against Catholic Emancipation. I have written an account of this school which I am hoping to have published in due course."