Sir Robert Peel
Born: 05 Feb, 1788
Died: 02 Jul, 1850
Field: Statesman
Location in the Abbey: North transept
Type of memorial: Statue
Type of material: Marble

In the north transept of Westminster Abbey is a white marble statue to Sir Robert Peel, Prime MInister 1834-35 and 1841-46. The over life-size figure is by John Gibson. The inscription reads:

"Robert Peel Born Feb.5. 1788 Died July 2. 1850"

The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 was the marked feature of his last administration, though he is best known today for the reorganisation of the London Police force. The early members of this force were called Peelers, after him.

He was born at Bury in Lancashire, one of eleven children of Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet (died 1830) and his first wife Ellen Yates. His father was a Member of Parliament and moved his family down to London and bought Drayton Manor. Robert junior was educated at Harrow School and Christ Church Oxford. In 1809 he became an MP, being Irish Secretary for seven years. On 8 June 1820 he married Julia Floyd and had seven children: Julia, Robert, Frederick, William, John, Arthur and Eliza. In 1822 he was made Home Secretary. He died after falling from his horse and was buried at his own wish beside his parents at Drayton Bassett. His wife died in 1859 and was buried with him.

A photo of the statue can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004


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