Sir Robert Peel|
Twice prime minister and founder and leader of the Conservative Party, Peel is best remembered for his founding of the London police force in 1829. The police are still called "bobbies"after his nickname.
Peel came from wealth and was well educated at Harrow School and Christ
Church, Oxford University. At 21 he was in the House of Commons and serving as undersecretary for war and the colonies. Later, as chief secretary (1812-1818), Peel maintained order in Ireland by forming the Irish police force nicknamed "peelers" by the Irish. He actively opposed granting Roman Catholics to the right to vote, but ten years later helped draft the Catholic Emancipation Act granting them suffrage.
As leader of the Conservative party and prime minister from 1841 to 1846
Peel worked to reform and later abolish the Corn Laws which kept food prices high. After seeing the hardships of the potato famine in Ireland he became an advocate of free trade.
Peel died 2 July 1850 from injuries sustained several days earlier when he was thrown from a horse.