February 5th 1788: Robert Peel born
On this day in 1788, the future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Robert Peel, was born. Peel was born in Bury, Lancashire to a prominent family, as his father was a famous industrialist and Member of Parliament. The young Robert received an exceptional education at Oxford University, and entered politics at the young age of twenty-one in 1809. His political career took off quickly, and he rapidly rose through the ranks, becoming Home Secretary in 1822, when he was thirty-four years old. Peel served as Home Secretary for the duration of the ‘liberal’ government of Lord Liverpool, which lasted until 1827. In this capacity, Peel left his greatest legacy, as he established the Metropolitan Police Force for London in 1829. This essentially set the stage for the creation of the modern police force, and police officers in Britain and still refered to as ‘bobbies’ and ‘peelers’ in memory of Peel. Robert Peel became British Prime Minister in 1834, and again in 1841. As Prime Minister, Peel is best known for his repeal of the unpopular Corn Laws - which restricted the importation of foreign grain - and issuing of the Tamworth Manifesto, which led to the formation of the modern Conservative Party. Peel died in Westminster in 1850 aged 62, and remains one of the most famous Prime Ministers in British history.