Robert Peel (Senior)

Robert Peel (Senior)

Robert Peel was born at Peelfold, Lancashire on 25th April 1750. His father was the owner of a calico-printing firm, Haworth, Peel & Yates in Blackburn. Robert was educated in London and then entered his father's business.

At the age of twenty-three Robert Peel was made a partner and soon afterwards took charge of the company. Peel made full use of the new inventions in the textile industry. However, he was worried how the handloom weavers would respond to these changes and decided to establish a new factory in Tamworth in Staffordshire. He solved the problems of finding workers for his new factory by importing workhouse children from London. Peel's new cotton factory was a great success and the business expanded rapidly. By the 1790s Peel was one of the country's leading industrialists and employed over 15,000 workers.

At the age of thirty-three, Peel married Ellen Yates, the daughter of one of his partners. The couple had eleven children, including Robert Peel, who later became Prime Minister. In 1790 he was elected as MP for Tamworth.

In the House of Commons Peel supported William Pitt and his Tory government. Peel was aware that some factory owner's treated their young workers very badly. He therefore argued that Parliament needed to find a way of protecting the most vulnerable workers. In 1802 Parliament passed Health and Morals of Apprentices Act. This legislation limited the hours of pauper children, apprenticed in cotton mills, to twelve hours a day.

The 1802 Factory Act was largely ineffective and so Peel continued to argue for further reform. With the support of other factory owners, such as Robert Owen, the 1819 Factory Act was passed. This legislation forbade the employment in cotton mills of any children under nine, and limited the hours of those between nine and sixteen to twelve hours per day. Sir Robert Peel died at Drayton Manor on 3rd March, 1830.


Sir Robert Peel

In Britain today all policemen are commonly referred to as ‘Bobbies’! Originally though, they were known as ‘Peelers’ in reference to one Sir Robert Peel (1788 – 1850).

Today it is hard to believe that Britain in the 18th century did not have a professional police force. Scotland had established a number of police forces following the introduction of the City of Glasgow Police in 1800 and the Royal Irish Constabulary was established in 1822, in large part because of the Peace Preservation Act of 1814 which Peel was heavily involved with. However, London was sadly lacking in any form of protective presence and crime prevention for its people as we entered the 19th century.

Following the success of the Royal Irish Constabulary it became obvious that something similar was needed in London, so in 1829 when Sir Robert was Home Secretary in Lord Liverpool’s Tory Cabinet, the Metropolitan Police Act was passed, providing permanently appointed and paid Constables to protect the capital as part of the Metropolitan Police Force.

© Greater Manchester Police Museum

The first thousand of Peel’s police, dressed in blue tail-coats and top hats, began to patrol the streets of London on 29th September 1829. The uniform was carefully selected to make the ‘Peelers’ look more like ordinary citizens, rather than a red-coated soldier with a helmet.

The ‘Peelers’ were issued with a wooden truncheon carried in a long pocket in the tail of their coat, a pair of handcuffs and a wooden rattle to raise the alarm. By the 1880s this rattle had been replaced by a whistle.

To be a ‘Peeler’ the rules were quite strict. You had to be aged 20 – 27, at least 5′ 7″ tall (or as near as possible), fit, literate and have no history of any wrong-doings.

These men became the model for the creation of all the provincial forces at first in the London Boroughs, and then into the counties and towns, after the passing of the County Police Act in 1839. An ironic point however the Lancashire town of Bury, birthplace of Sir Robert, was the only major town which elected not to have its own separate police force. The town remained part of the Lancashire Constabulary until 1974.

Early Victorian police worked seven days a week, with only five days unpaid holiday a year for which they received the grand sum of £1 per week. Their lives were strictly controlled they were not allowed to vote in elections and required permission to get married and even to share a meal with a civilian. To allay the public’s suspicion of being spied upon, officers were required to wear their uniforms both on and off duty.

In spite of the huge success of his ‘Bobbies’, Peel was not a well liked man. Queen Victoria is said to have found him ‘a cold, unfeeling, disagreeable man’. They had many personal conflicts over the years, and when he spoke against awarding her ‘darling’ Prince Albert an annual income of £50,000, he did little to endear himself to the Queen.

When Peel was Prime Minister, he and the Queen had a further disagreement over her ‘Ladies of the Bedchamber’. Peel insisting that she accepted some ‘Tory’ ladies in preference to her ‘Whig’ ladies.

Although Peel was a skilful politician, he had few social graces and had a reserved, off-putting manner.

After a long and distinguished career, Sir Robert came to an unfortunate end …he was thrown from his horse while riding on Constitution Hill in London on 29th June 1850, and died three days later.

His legacy remains however as long as the British ‘Bobbies’ patrol the streets and keep the population safe from wrong-doers …and help lost tourists find their way back to the comfort of their hotels!


Sir Robert Peel statue removal calls 'targeting wrong man'

There are several statues of Sir Robert Peel, who founded the modern police.

But city leaders said people appeared to be confusing him with his father, of the same name, who opposed the abolition of slavery.

Despite acknowledging the mistaken identity, campaigners are still calling for the Leeds statue to go.

Statues of the 18th Century prime minister - located in Leeds, Bury, Manchester, Preston and Glasgow - have been included on a list of possible targets following the toppling of the monument to Edward Colston in Bristol.

Sir Robert's father had been a vocal opponent of the abolition of slavery because it threatened his fortune in the cotton trade.

Responding to call for the Leeds statue to be taken down, council leader Judith Blake said: "There seems to be now a recognition that there has been some misunderstanding about the Robert Peel whose statue is in Leeds and that it was actually his father who worked in the cotton trade. "

She said the reaction in the North West, where Sir Robert was born, had been that he was a "reformer and did do many things that have had a lasting impression and impact, not least establishing a police force that doesn't carry arms."

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said there was a "feeling there is a misunderstanding here which is that his father had links to the slave trade rather than Peel himself".


Peel Junior

Of Peel's nine surviving children, his heir, Robert, is best known. Born near Manchester and brought up for a career in politics by his father &ndash whom he is said to have resembled in many ways &ndash the younger Peel spent intermittent but important periods of his early life at the house on Upper Grosvenor Street. It was during his time here in 1805, between Harrow School and Oxford University, that he first began to frequent the House of Commons. In 1809, at the age of 21, Peel entered politics. His long and successful career was crowned by two periods as Prime Minister (1834&ndash5 and 1841&ndash6).

In 1829, during his second posting as Home Secretary, Peel established the Metropolitan Police Force, based at Scotland Yard. Policemen would later be given the nickname &lsquobobbies&rsquo or &lsquoPeelers&rsquo after their founder.

In his second period as Prime Minister, Peel was focused on rebuilding the British economy following the recession which had begun in 1838. He reduced duties on articles of mass consumption and reintroduced income tax. His decision to repeal the Corn Laws (1846) split the Tory party that he had led for so long, and ultimately ended his premiership.

While Peel did not follow his father into cotton manufacturing, he greatly benefited from his family&rsquos wealth and standing &ndash the elder Peel helped secure him a seat in the House of Commons and he later inherited a huge fortune from him.

Peel died suddenly in 1850 after sustaining fatal injuries when he was thrown off his horse on Constitution Hill in London. He was buried next to his mother and father in the churchyard of Drayton Bassett.


5 facts about Sir Robert Peel

Sir Robert Peel (1788–1850) was a British statesman who twice served as prime minister, between 1834–35 and 1841–46. A central figure in the formation of the modern British Conservative Party, the Victorian politician is best remembered for repealing the Corn Laws – which had been introduced to protect British agriculture – in June 1846, and for establishing London’s first metropolitan police force

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Published: February 5, 2019 at 4:46 pm

Peel is also known for his stance towards Catholic emancipation and for pushing the Catholic Emancipation Bill through parliament in 1828, and for his Tamworth Manifesto, which outlined new Conservative reform principles.

Here, we bring you five facts about Sir Robert Peel…

Robert Peel laid the foundations for the modern Conservative Party

The son of a wealthy cotton manufacturer, Robert Peel was born on 5 February 1788 in Lancashire. Following his education at Harrow and the University of Oxford, he entered parliament in 1809 as a member of the Tory party.

Peel held prominent positions within government from an early stage in his career, being appointed chief secretary for Ireland in 1812 – a role in which he was committed to the 1800 Act of Union, which had united Great Britain and Ireland under the name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He later became home secretary in 1822 and introduced far-reaching criminal law and prison reform.

Peel’s Tamworth Manifesto, issued in 1834 in response to the sweeping parliamentary reform that had passed under Lord Charles Grey’s Whig government in 1832, was a statement of the new Conservative reform principles. It is widely considered to have laid the foundations for the modern British Conservative party.

A request by Peel sparked Queen Victoria’s “Bedchamber crisis”

In 1839 Peel was offered the chance to form a government by the young Queen Victoria, succeeding Lord Melbourne. Melbourne had recently resigned following several parliamentary defeats and was well-known to be a favourite of the queen.

Before replacing Melbourne, Peel requested that Victoria dismiss some of her existing household. He hoped to remove some of the ladies-in-waiting who were loyal to the Melbourne and Whig party – a number of them were married or related to Whig ministers.

The young queen held friendships with many of the ladies that Peel wanted to remove and so refused his request, sparking the first constitutional crisis of her reign which became known as “The Bedchamber crisis”. Her refusal was widely condemned for not being politically partisan – some even suggested it was unconstitutional. Peel promptly resigned.

The crisis was resolved after Prince Albert intervened: he encouraged some of the ladies to voluntarily resign their positions, and the queen went on to have a good working relationship with Peel. After Peel’s death in 1850, Queen Victoria described him as her “worthy Peel, a man of unbounded loyalty, courage, patriotism and highmindedness”.

The crisis was recently dramatised in series one of ITV’s drama Victoria.

The Metropolitan police force is nicknamed after Robert Peel

By the beginning of the 19th century, there was increasing support for a professional, state-funded, full-time police force –during his role as home secretary, Sir Robert Peel was pivotal in establishing London’s first police force. The Metropolitan Police Act aimed to establish uniformity in how crime was dealt with across London and, in 1829, Peel set up the first disciplined police service for the Greater London area.

As a result of Peel’s work, the new policemen were nicknamed “Peelers”, and are still commonly referred to as “Bobbies” today.

Robert Peel is thought to have been the target of an assassination attempt

On the afternoon of 20 January 1843, Edward Drummond – a British civil servant and personal secretary to Robert Peel – was shot he later died from his wounds. The assassin was Daniel McNaughton, a Glaswegian woodturner who is believed to have suffered from “paranoid delusions”.

It has often been suggested that McNaughton had in fact mistaken Drummond for Peel and that the prime minister was the intended target. However, there is no conclusive evidence for the theory (though ITV’s Victoria dramatically portrayed Drummond intentionally stepping in front of a bullet that had been meant for Peel).

Today, the assassin’s name lives on in the so-called McNaughton [M’Naghten] Rules – the legal test for criminal insanity.

Peel’s repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 split the Conservative party

It was the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 which split Peel’s Conservative party and triggered Peel’s resignation and departure from his second term as prime minister.

The Corn Laws, which had been passed in 1815, restricted the amount of foreign grain that could be imported into England –an arrangement which was supported by landowners but strongly opposed by manufacturers and the urban working class. By the 1830s, anti-Corn Law feeling was rife and the Anti-Corn Law League was founded in Manchester in 1838. Following pressure from the league’s leader, Richard Cobden, and swayed by the horrific effects of the Irish Potato Famine (1845–52), Peel supported the repeal of the Corn Laws and achieved repeal with the support of the Whig opposition party in June 1846.

When he announced the repeal, Robert Peel reiterated the sentiments he had expressed when introducing the income tax back in 1842: to elevate the social conditions of the people, and to “frame its legislation upon the principle of equity and justice,” which would guarantee social harmony and political stability.

On the same day, Peel was defeated on another bill, and resigned. The repeal of the Corn Laws also caused a rift in the Conservative Party: “Peelites” splintered off from the main party, while the group who favoured anti-repeal protectionist interests combined with the Whigs to overthrow Peel’s government.

In 1850, four years after his departure from parliament, Peel was badly injured after falling from his horse and died on 2 July 1850 in London.

Elinor Evans is Deputy Digital Editor of HistoryExtra.com

This article was first published by History Extra in July 2018.


The Peel Web

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Robert Owen and factory legislation

Robert Owen has been called the 'father of English Socialism'. He was the founder of the Co-operative movement and believed in worker control although he was a high capitalist himself. He was the product of self-help a paternalist. A very practical man, he concentrated on the means to the end. He believed that if the working man ever was to achieve equality, then the man must change first - in attitude. Also, the working man had to know of, believe in and be equipped to fight for the cause, according to Owen. This is very much the self-help ethic.

Owen advocated social changes because he was trying to create a changed working man. He reasoned that since character was moulded by circumstances, then improved circumstances would lead to goodness. The environment at New Lanark, where he tried out his ideas, reflected this philosophy. However, Owen was an authoritarian and much too heavy-handed his workers at New Lanark were made to adopt new living, working, sanitary, educational and other standards. He received no criticism from below, and he simply bought out critical partners. The result of this was that Owen became dogmatic. He was more devoted to his ideals than to any human being and had a greater love for mankind in the mass than for any individual. Owen forgot, at times, that 'mankind' was made up of individuals and so he failed.

New Lanark had a population of 2,000 people, 500 of whom were young children from the poorhouses and charities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The children had been well treated by David Dale but Owen found the condition of the people unsatisfactory. Owen refused to take any more pauper children and he began to improve the houses and machinery. Crime and vice bred by demoralising conditions were common there was little education and less sanitation housing conditions were intolerable. Owen set out to test his ideas on education and the environment by attempting to set up a model factory and model village. Under his new regime, conditions in the factory were clean and children and women worked relatively short hours: a 12 hour day including 1½ hours for meals. He employed no children under 10 years old. He provided decent houses, sanitation, shops and so on for the workers. He gave rewards for cleanliness and good behaviour and mainly by his own personal influence, encouraged the people in habits of order, cleanliness, and thrift. The Gentleman's Magazine commented that

Initially, the workmen obstructed his plans but he won their confidence by opening a shop in which goods of sound quality could be bought at little more than cost price and at which the sale of alcohol was placed under strict supervision. He became more popular duing the American embargo in 1806 when he stopped the mills for four months but paid the workmen their full wages, amounting to more than £7,000. After that, he was able to introduce other measures to reduce the amount of drink and pilfering that went on in New Lanark.

Owen was consulted by the rich and famous and he came to see himself as a prophet. Owen's influence and example were important in factory reform. He influenced Sir Robert Peel (senior) into presenting the 1802 and 1819 Factory Acts to parliament. He called a meeting of manufacturers at Glasgow in 1815 and proposed a petition for removing the tax on imported cotton that was carried unanimously. He then proposed resolutions approving a measure for limiting the hours of children's labour in mills. No one would second them, but Owen went to London to set out his proposals to the government which Peel undertook to bring before the House of Commons as a Bill. Peel approved the appointment of a committee to investigate the question of the employment of children in mills but the Glasgow manufacturers tried to discredit Owen by laying charges to the effect that he had used seditious language in his address on the institution for the formation of character. Sidmouth had already seen the address and dismissed the charge as ridiculous. Owen attended the committee at every meeting for two sessions because he wanted his New Lanark mills to be the model for the standardisation of factory life: 12 hours a day with 11½ hours for meals. He was disgusted by the concessions made by Peel to the manufacturers and handed over his work to Nathaniel Gould and Richard Oastler.

The Factory Act of 1819 was the result of this agitation. Owen had proposed that no child under ten should be employed in any factory that no child under eighteen should be worked for more than ten and a half hours and that some schooling should be given, and a system of inspection provided. The legislation that came into effect dealt only with cotton mills it said that no children under 9 were to be employed children between the ages of 9 and 16 years were limited to 12 hours' work per day and that JPs were to enforce the Act. It fell far short of Owen's vision but was a first step towards reforming factories and limiting the working hours of children.

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Sir Robert Peel Senior 1750 to 1830 English textile manufacturer Engraved by H Robinson after Sir T Lawrence From the book National Portrait Gallery volume V published c 1835.

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Facts about Sir Robert Peel 1: parents

His father was the first Baronet. His name is Sir Robert Peel. His father was also noted as a politician and rich textile manufacturer. When Peel served as the prime minister of United Kingdom, he was considered as the first one who had industrial business background.

Facts about Sir Robert Peel 2: education

Let us find out the early education of Sir Robert Peel. At first, he attended Bruy Grammar School. Then he was educated at Hipperholme Grammar School and Harrow School. He studied at Christ Church, Oxford and had his double first in mathematics and classics.


Robert Peel

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About Sir Robert Peel, 1st Bt.

Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet (25 April 1750 – 3 May 1830), was a British politician and industrialist and one of early textile manufacturers of the Industrial Revolution. He was the father of Sir Robert Peel, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Peel's father Robert Peel and grandfather William Peel were yeoman farmers who were also engaged in the infant textile industry, then organised on the basis of the domestic system (most of the work being undertaken in the home).

Like many others, Peel joined partnerships in order to raise the capital required to set up spinning mills. These were water powered (usually utilising the water frame invented by Richard Arkwright), and thus located by rivers and streams in country districts. Thus Peel and Yates set up a mill and housing for their workers at Burrs near Bury. As elsewhere, the shortage of labour in the rural districts was mitigating by employing pauper children as 'apprentices', imported from any locality that wanted them off their hands. They were housed in a kind of hostel.

Peel became quite rich, and lived at Chamber Hall in Bury, where his more famous son was born. Peel was listed as a subscriber to the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal navigation in 1791.[1] He also built the first factory in nearby Radcliffe.

In politics, Peel was a staunch 'Church and King' man – in other words, a Tory. This was unusual, as many of the Lancashire mill owners were nonconformist and radical in their outlook. He was a paternalist towards his workforce. When elected Member of Parliament for Tamworth, he carried these principles into political life. He was responsible for the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act, legislation that tried to limit the number of hours the children worked in the mills, and obliged the mill owners to privide some form of schooling. In 1800 he was created a Baronet, of Drayton Manor in the County of Stafford and of Bury in the County Palatine of Lancaster.[2] In later years, he purchased property near Tamworth and started to adopt the lifestyle of a country gentleman, far removed from his roots.

Peel married as his first wife Ellen Yates (the daughter of his partner) on 8 July 1783. They had eleven children, including:

After the death of his first wife, Peel married Susanna Clerke (sister of Sir William Clerke) on 18 October 1805. The marriage was unsuccessful and the couple eventually separated, with Susanna moving to Warwickshire. She died on 10 September 1824. Sir Robert was at the time unwell and his children represented him at the funeral.[3]

Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet (25 April 1750 – 3 May 1830), was a British politician and industrialist and one of early textile manufacturers of the Industrial Revolution. He was the father of Sir Robert Peel, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Peel's father Robert Peel and grandfather William Peel were yeoman farmers who were also engaged in the infant textile industry, then organised on the basis of the domestic system (most of the work being undertaken in the home).

Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet, (1750�), father of the Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, was a politician and industrialist and one of early textile manufacturers of the industrial revolution.

1750 April 25th. Born the son of Robert Peel (1723-1795)

For most of the 1780s, Livesey, Hargreaves and Co of Preston was the largest of the Lancashire calico printers, but the collapse of this leviathan of the trade in 1788 left Peel, Yates and Co of Bury as undisputed leaders.

1783 July 8th. Peel married firstly Ellen Yates (the daughter of his partner William Yates) and they had eleven children, including:

1787 Peel was the foremost partner in an integrated spinning, weaving, and finishing operation at three sites in Bolton. The other partners were the Ainsworths, already noticed as pioneers of muslin manufacture and then of chemical bleaching in the area. Hand-loom weavers were in short supply, so Peel, Ainsworth and Co employed them as far away as Warrington, Burnley, Chorley, Wigan, and even Paisley in Scotland.

Like many others, he joined partnerships in order to raise the capital required to set up spinning mills. These were water powered (usually utilising the water frame invented by Richard Arkwright), and thus located by rivers and streams in country districts. Thus Peel and Yates set up a mill and housing for their workers at Burrs near Bury. As elsewhere, the shortage of labour in the rural districts was mitigating by employing pauper children as 'apprentices', imported from any locality that wanted them off their hands. They were housed in a kind of hostel.

Peel became quite rich, and lived at Chamber Hall in Bury, where his more famous son was born.

In politics, he was a staunch 'Church and King' man - in other words, a Tory. This was unusual, as many of the Lancashire mill owners were nonconformist and radical in their outlook.

He was a paternalist towards his workforce. When elected Member of Parliament for Tamworth, he carried these principles into political life. He was responsible for the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act, legislation that tried to limit the number of hours the children worked in the mills, and obliged the mill owners to provide some form of schooling.

In later years, he purchased property near Tamworth and started to adopt the lifestyle of a country gentleman, far removed from his roots.

1805 October 18th. After the death of his first wife, Peel married Susanna Clerke (sister of Sir William Clerke). The marriage was unsuccessful and the couple eventually separated, with Susanna moving to Warwickshire. She died on 10 September 1824. Sir Robert was at the time unwell and his children represented him at the funeral.

Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet was a British politician and industrialist and one of early textile manufacturers of the Industrial Revolution. He was the father of Sir Robert Peel, twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Peel's father Robert Peel and grandfather William Peele were yeoman farmers who were also engaged in the infant textile industry, then organised on the basis of the domestic system (most of the work being undertaken in the home).

Like many others, Peel joined partnerships to raise the capital required to set up spinning mills. These were water powered (usually using the water frame invented by Richard Arkwright), and thus located by rivers and streams in country districts. Thus Peel and Yates set up a mill and housing for their workers at Burrs near Bury. As elsewhere, the shortage of labour in the rural districts was mitigated by employing pauper children as 'apprentices', imported from any locality that wanted them off their hands. They were housed in a kind of hostel.

Peel became quite rich, and lived at Chamber Hall in Bury, where his more famous son was born. Peel was listed as a subscriber to the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal navigation in 1791. He also built the first factory in nearby Radcliffe.

In politics, Peel was a 'Church and King' Tory and a staunch supporter of William Pitt the Younger. This was unusual, as many of the Lancashire mill owners were nonconformist and radical in their outlook. In 1790 he was elected Member of Parliament for Tamworth, having bought the borough along with Lord Bath's estate in the area, and carried these principles into political life. He made Drayton Manor in Staffordshire his principal residence and started to adopt the lifestyle of a country gentleman. In 1800 he was created a Baronet, of Drayton Manor in the County of Stafford and of Bury in the County Palatine of Lancaster. Concerned at the working conditions for children in the cotton industry, and even more concerned that some of his mills had been run by their 'overseers' (managers) contrary to his own paternalistic intentions, in 1802, he introduced the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act, legislation that tried to limit the number of hours that apprentice children worked in the mills, and obliged the mill owners to provide some form of schooling. In 1815, at the urging of Robert Owen, he introduced a Bill introducing stricter limits on the hours children (whether or not apprentices) could work in textile mills in 1819 this was passed (heavily amended, and applying only to the cotton industry) as the Cotton Mills and Factories Act. In 1817, he retired from business, the various partnerships which had operated his mills being dissolved. In the 1818 General Election, Peel and his son William had been the two MPs returned by Tamworth in a contested election in 1820 Peel left Parliament (restoring the traditional arrangement at Tamworth of returning un-contested one MP of the proprietor's choosing and one representing other local interests).

He cried and kissed me two or three times. He is very feeble, and his voice very faint, but he was sitting in his dressing gown in his sitting room upstairs. He is much thinner and feebler than when we were here in the autumn Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet regarding the last time he saw his father alive.

Peel married as his first wife Ellen Yates (the daughter of his partner) on 8 July 1783. They had eleven children, including:

Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. William Yates Peel, MP and politician. married Lady Jane Elizabeth Moore, daughter of Stephen Moore, 2nd Earl Mount Cashell and his wife Margaret King. Edmund Peel, MP and politician General Jonathan Peel, soldier, politician and owner of racehorses (including 'Orlando', the winner of the 'Running Rein' Derby of 1844) Laurence Peel (b. 1801), MP and politician, who married Lady Jane Lennox, daughter of Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond described by one historian as "the youngest and least talented, but perhaps the most personally attractive of the Peel brothers". Harriet Peel, who married the 2nd Baron Henley. Mary Peel who married Rt Hon George Robert Dawson and was mother to Lord Moyola's mother's father's mother. Peel had high hopes for his children, especially his eldest son, Robert, who he would make repeat the substance of each Sunday's sermon after mass. Peel accepted that he would not mingle with high society, but intended to prepare his son to be able to.

After the death of his first wife, Peel married Susanna Clerke (sister of Sir William Clerke) on 18 October 1805. The marriage was unsuccessful and the couple eventually separated, with Susanna moving to Warwickshire. She died on 10 September 1824. Sir Robert was at the time unwell and his children represented him at the funeral.

In April 1830, Sir Robert was growing frail, though he still played whist until he was too weak to deal. He was too proud to allow his nephew to deal for him, so stopped playing. Peel died in his armchair, peacefully and without anyone noticing until hours later.

When writing the biography of his son Robert, Douglas Hurd stated that Peel had "a good life, well sustained by family pleasures, worldly success, orthodox Christian faith and a strong practical mind". His funeral was attended by the entire "corporation of Tamworth" and sixty tenants on horseback.

In his will, an equal amount to each of his sons, except Robert, to whom he left all his lands and four times the assets left to the other sons. Peel had given Robert 򣈰,000 during his lifetime, plus 򣄀,000 on the event of his marriage and willed him a further 򣅔,000.


Sir Robert Peel

Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet was the first Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He helped create the modern concept of the police force while Home Secretary (leading to officers being known as "bobbies", in England, or Peelers, in Ireland, to this day), oversaw the formation of the Conservative Party out of the shattered Tory Party, and repealed the Corn Laws.

He also reformed the criminal law, slashing the number of crimes punishable by death, amalgamating lots of laws together into what are now known as Peel's Acts. He also reformed prisons, paying gaolers rather than have them operate by highly formalised bribes and introduced education for the inmates.

He was a strong opponent of Catholic emancipation, but by the time he was in a position to do anything (under his good friend The Duke of Wellington) it was too late to fight the swell of opinion. Initially got off on a bad foot with Queen Victoria due to trying to interfere with the appointment of her Ladies of the Bedchamber, which Peel saw as a political appointment (because they were mostly the wives and daughters of his Whig political opponents) and Victoria considered to be outside the remit of Parliament. They mellowed towards each other later on, particularly when Peel became good friends with Prince Albert. He was also subject to a case of Actually, I Am Him that saved his life--an assassin named Macnaghten mistook Peel's secretary Drummond for the man himself and shot him dead in 1843.

His first premiership was hamstrung by being a minority government and lasted less than a year. His second one came to power after a mass of government debt and a collapse in faith in the banking system. He fixed this with taxes and tariffs. After attacking the supporters of his opponents (the factory owners and industrial leaders) he then acted against the landed gentry by repealing the protectionist Corn Laws, an act that brought down his government.

Peel's preference for economically liberal policies later in his premiership--the most notable of which was the repeal of the Corn Laws--led to the establishment of the Peelite faction of Conservatives, which gradually merged with the Whigs and Radicals into the Liberal Party.


Watch the video: Sir Robert Peel and Reform