Mayor from 1892 - 1893 and 1897
Francis Bell had his first taste of politics while studying in Britain where he campaigned for the Conservative Party in the British general election of 1874. After returning to his native New Zealand, he was elected mayor of Wellington.
As mayor, Bell was behind the construction of Wellington's first modern drainage system. The first of its type in New Zealand, the drainage system was designed to curtail the continuing incidence of diseases related to poor hygiene in the city.
Bell moved on to central government where, upon the death of Prime Minister William Massey in 1925, he became the first New Zealand-born prime minister.