William Peel, 1st Earl Peel

Last updated

The Earl Peel

William Peel.jpg
Peel in 1910
Lord Privy Seal
In office
3 September 1931 5 November 1931
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by Tom Johnston
Succeeded by The Viscount Snowden
Secretary of State for India
In office
18 October 1928 4 June 1929
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by The Earl of Birkenhead
Succeeded by William Wedgwood Benn
In office
19 March 1922 22 January 1924
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by Edwin Montagu
Succeeded by The Lord Olivier
First Commissioner of Works
In office
10 November 1924 18 October 1928
Monarch George V
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by Fred Jowett
Succeeded by The Marquess of Londonderry
Minister of Transport
In office
7 November 1921 12 April 1922
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Eric Geddes
Succeeded by The Earl of Crawford
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
1 April 1921 19 March 1922
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by The Earl of Crawford
Succeeded by William Sutherland
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War
In office
10 January 1919 1 April 1921
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Ian Macpherson
Succeeded by Robert Sanders
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of National Service
In office
15 April 1918 10 January 1919
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Cecil Beck
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
24 October 1912 28 September 1937
Hereditary Peerage
Preceded by The 1st Viscount Peel
Succeeded by The 2nd Earl Peel
Member of Parliament
for Taunton
In office
23 February 1909 24 October 1912
Preceded by Sir Edward Boyle
Succeeded by Gilbert Wills
Member of Parliament
for Manchester South
In office
29 May 1900 8 February 1906
Preceded by John Campbell
Succeeded by Arthur Haworth
Personal details
Born7 January 1867 (1867-01-07)
Died28 September 1937 (1937-09-29) (aged 70)
East Meon, near Petersfield, Hampshire
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Unionist
Spouse(s)Hon. Eleanor Williamson
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Viscount Peel Lord Peel.jpg
Viscount Peel
Lord Peel in the entrance of the King David Hotel, 1936. Lord Peel arrives.jpg
Lord Peel in the entrance of the King David Hotel, 1936.

William Robert Wellesley Peel, 1st Earl Peel, GCSI , GBE , TD , PC (7 January 1867 – 28 September 1937), known as The Viscount Peel from 1912 to 1929, was a British politician.

Territorial Decoration military medal of the United Kingdom

The Territorial Decoration (TD) was a military medal of the United Kingdom awarded for long service in the Territorial Force and its successor, the Territorial Army. This award superseded the Volunteer Officer's Decoration when the Territorial Force was formed on 1 April 1908, following the enactment of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, which was a large reorganisation of the old Volunteer Army and the remaining units of militia and Yeomanry. However, the Militia were transferred to the Special Reserve rather than becoming part of the Territorial Force. A recipient of this award is entitled to the letters "TD" after their name (post-nominal).

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.


Background and education

The eldest son of Arthur Wellesley Peel, 1st Viscount Peel and Adelaide Dugdale, Peel was born in London in 1867. His father was the fifth and youngest son of Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel. [1]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital of and largest city in England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

He was educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford, [2] where he was secretary of the Oxford Union. [1]

Harrow School English independent school for boys

Harrow School is an independent boarding school for boys in Harrow, London, England. The School was founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I, and is one of the original seven public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. Harrow charges up to £12,850 per term, with three terms per academic year (2017/18). Harrow is the fourth most expensive boarding school in the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Balliol College, Oxford constituent college of the University of Oxford

Balliol College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. One of Oxford's oldest colleges, it was founded around 1263 by John I de Balliol, a rich landowner from Barnard Castle in County Durham, who provided the foundation and endowment for the college. When de Balliol died in 1269 his widow, Dervorguilla, a woman whose wealth far exceeded that of her husband, continued his work in setting up the college, providing a further endowment, and writing the statutes. She is considered a co‑founder of the college.

Oxford Union debating society in Oxford, England

The Oxford Union Society, commonly referred to simply as the Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, England, whose membership is drawn primarily from the University of Oxford. Founded in 1823, it is one of Britain's oldest university unions and one of the world's most prestigious private students' societies. The Oxford Union exists independently from the university and is separate from the Oxford University Student Union.

In 1893, he was called to the bar at the Inner Temple, and practised as a barrister before taking the position of special correspondent for the Daily Telegraph during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. [2] [1]

Barrister lawyer specialized in court representation in Wales, England and some other jurisdictions

A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, researching the philosophy, hypothesis and history of law, and giving expert legal opinions. Often, barristers are also recognised as legal scholars.

Inner Temple one of the four Inns of Court in London, England

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, commonly known as the Inner Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, a person must belong to one of these Inns. It is located in the wider Temple area of the capital, near the Royal Courts of Justice, and within the City of London.

Greco-Turkish War (1897) war between the Kingdom of Greece and the Ottoman Empire

The Greco-Turkish War of 1897, also called the Thirty Days' War and known in Greece as the Black '97 or the Unfortunate War, was a war fought between the Kingdom of Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Its immediate cause was the question over the status of the Ottoman province of Crete, whose Greek majority long desired union with Greece. Despite the Ottoman victory on the field, an autonomous Cretan State under Ottoman suzerainty was established the following year, with Prince George of Greece and Denmark as its first High Commissioner.

Political career

In 1900 Peel was appointed a member of the Royal Commission formed to inquire into the operation of the Port of London. In February the same year he began his political career when he was elected in a by-election to fill a vacant seat for Woolwich in the London County Council, [3] to which he was re-elected in the ordinary election the following year. He was a member of the pro-Conservative grouping on the council that became the Municipal Reform Party. He was leader of the Party from 1908–10, and chairman of the county council from 1914-16. [2] [1]

The Port of London lies along the banks of the River Thames from the capital to the North Sea. Once the largest port in the world, it is currently the United Kingdom's second largest port, after Grimsby & Immingham. The port is governed by the Port of London Authority (PLA), a public trust established in 1908 whose responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames, but which neither owns or operate any facilities.

Woolwich district in South East London, England

Woolwich is a district of south-east London, England, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It has been part of the London metropolitan area since the 19th century. In 1965, most of the former Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich became part of Greenwich Borough, of which it remains the administrative centre.

London County Council Local government body for the County of London, 1889 to 1965; replaced by Greater London Council

London County Council (LCC) was the principal local government body for the County of London throughout its existence from 1889 to 1965, and the first London-wide general municipal authority to be directly elected. It covered the area today known as Inner London and was replaced by the Greater London Council. The LCC was the largest, most significant and most ambitious English municipal authority of its day.

He begun his Parliamentary career when he was elected as Liberal Unionist MP for Manchester South at a by-election. At the next general election in 1906 he stood unsuccessfully at Harrow. He returned to the Commons in 1909, when elected as Conservative MP for Taunton at a by-election. [1] He inherited his father's viscountcy in 1912, and moved to the House of Lords.

Manchester South was one of six parliamentary constituencies created in 1885 by the division of the Parliamentary Borough of Manchester, England. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament, elected by the first-past-the-post voting system. The constituency was abolished in 1918.

1906 United Kingdom general election

The 1906 United Kingdom general election was held from 12 January to 8 February 1906.

Harrow (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1885-1945

Harrow was a constituency of the House of Commons of the UK Parliament 1885—1945 in Middlesex, a traditional county; it covered an area forming part of the north-west of today's Greater London. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP).

Peel was appointed a Deputy lieutenant of Bedfordshire [4] and lieutenant-colonel of the Bedfordshire Yeomanry in 1912, and on the outbreak of the First World War moved to France with his regiment. Due to ill health he returned to Britain in 1915. In 1918 he received his first government post as Joint Parliamentary Secretary at the Department of National Service. In 1919 he became Under-Secretary of State for War and a member of the Privy Council. [2] [1] Two years later he became Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for Transport.

He entered the cabinet in 1922 as Secretary of State for India as part of the coalition government of David Lloyd George but continued in the post after the downfall of the Coalition during the premierships of Bonar Law and Baldwin. Baldwin's Government fell in January 1924, but after a brief spell in opposition was returned to power at the 1924 General Election. Peel was appointed First Commissioner of Works in the Conservative administration formed by Stanley Baldwin. In 1928 he briefly returned to the India Office before the Conservatives lost power at 1929 general election. [1]

The latter year he was created Viscount Clanfield, of Clanfield in the County of Southampton, and Earl Peel in the Dissolution Honours. [2] When a Conservative-dominated National Government was formed after the 1931 election he became Lord Privy Seal. He only held this office for two months, leaving government in November. [1]

In 1932 he was appointed chairman of the Wheat Commission, and in 1934 chaired the Royal Commission on the Common Law. In 1936–37, he chaired the Peel Commission which recommended for the first time the partition of the British Mandate of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. [1]


Lord Peel married the Hon. Eleanor, daughter of James Williamson, 1st Baron Ashton, in 1899. They had two children: Arthur Peel, 2nd Earl Peel and Lady Doris, who married Col Stewart Blacker.

In 1929, Lord Ashton died and Peel succeeded him as chairman of James Williamson and Company. He was a director of Barclays Bank and of the Great Northern Railway. [2] [1]


Lord Peel died, aged 70, at his home in East Meon, near Petersfield, Hampshire in 1937 after a long illness. [2] [1] He was succeeded in his titles by his son, Arthur.

Related Research Articles

Stanley Baldwin Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, was a British Conservative Party statesman who dominated the government of the United Kingdom between the world wars, serving as Prime Minister on three occasions.

John Baird, 1st Viscount Stonehaven Australian journalist, lawyer and politician

John Lawrence Baird of Urie, 1st Viscount Stonehaven, 1st Baron Stonehaven, 2nd Baronet, 3rd of Ury, was a British politician who served as the eighth Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1925 to 1930. He had previously been a government minister under David Lloyd George, Bonar Law, and Stanley Baldwin.

Arthur Peel, 1st Viscount Peel British politician

Arthur Wellesley Peel, 1st Viscount Peel, was a British Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1865 to 1895. He was Speaker of the House of Commons from 1884 until 1895 when he was raised to the peerage.

Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, 1st Earl of Cranbrook British politician

Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, 1st Earl of Cranbrook,, known as Gathorne Hardy until 1878, was a prominent British Conservative politician, a moderate, middle-of-the road Anglican. He held cabinet office in every Conservative government between 1858 and 1892 and notably served as Home Secretary from 1867 to 1868 and as Secretary of State for War from 1874 to 1878.

Earl Peel

Earl Peel is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The Peel family descends from Robert Peel, eldest son of a wealthy cotton merchant. The family lands, known as Drayton Manor, in the County of Stafford would become more commonly known in modern-day as an amusement park. The family seat is Elmire House, near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury British politician

James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury,, known as Viscount Cranborne from 1868 to 1903, was a British statesman.

George Cadogan, 5th Earl Cadogan British Conservative politician

George Henry Cadogan, 5th Earl Cadogan,, styled Viscount Chelsea from 1864 to 1873, was a British Conservative politician.

Matthew White Ridley, 1st Viscount Ridley British politician

Matthew White Ridley, 1st Viscount Ridley,, known as Sir Matthew White Ridley, 5th Baronet from 1877 to 1900, was a British Conservative statesman. He notably served as Home Secretary from 1895 to 1900.

James Stanhope, 7th Earl Stanhope British Earl and politician

James Richard Stanhope, 13th Earl of Chesterfield and 7th Earl Stanhope,, styled Viscount Mahon until 1905, and known as The Earl Stanhope from 1905 until his death, was a British Conservative politician.

Philip Cunliffe-Lister, 1st Earl of Swinton politician

Philip Cunliffe-Lister, 1st Earl of Swinton,, known as Philip Lloyd-Greame until 1924 and as The Viscount Swinton between 1935 and 1955, was a prominent British Conservative politician from the 1920s until the 1950s.

J. C. C. Davidson British politician

John Colin Campbell Davidson, 1st Viscount Davidson,, known before his elevation to the peerage as J. C. C. Davidson, was a British civil servant and Conservative Party politician, best known for his close alliance with Stanley Baldwin. Initially a civil servant, Davidson was private secretary to Bonar Law between 1915 and 1920. After entering parliament in 1920, he served under Baldwin as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1923 and 1924 and as Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty between 1924 and 1926. From 1926 to 1930 he was Chairman of the Conservative Party. He was once again Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster between 1931 and 1937, firstly under Ramsay MacDonald and from 1935 onwards under Baldwin. On Baldwin's retirement in 1937, Davidson left the House of Commons and was ennobled as Viscount Davidson. Despite being only 48, he never took any further active part in politics. His wife Frances, Viscountess Davidson, succeeded him as MP for Hemel Hempstead. Lord Davidson died in London in 1970.

Donald Somervell, Baron Somervell of Harrow British politician

Donald Bradley Somervell, Baron Somervell of Harrow, OBE, PC was a British barrister, judge and Conservative Party politician. He served as Solicitor General and Attorney General from 1933–45 and was briefly Home Secretary in Winston Churchill's 1945 caretaker government.

Harry Crookshank British politician

Harry Frederick Comfort Crookshank, 1st Viscount Crookshank, was a British Conservative politician. He was Minister of Health between 1951 and 1952 and Leader of the House of Commons between 1951 and 1955.

William Clive Bridgeman, 1st Viscount Bridgeman, PC, JP, DL was a British Conservative politician and peer. He notably served as Home Secretary between 1922 and 1924.

Leader of the Conservative Party (UK) most senior politician within the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom

The Leader of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom is the most senior politician of the Conservative Party. To date, two of the leaders have been women: Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May. May resigned on 7 June 2019, triggering a leadership election, and is acting leader until a successor is elected.

George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 5th Duke of Sutherland British duke

George Granville Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 5th Duke of Sutherland, KT, PC, styled Earl Gower until 1892 and Marquess of Stafford between 1892 and 1913, was a British courtier, patron of the film industry and Conservative politician from the Leveson-Gower family. He held minor office in the Conservative administration of Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin in the 1920s and was later Lord Steward of the Household from 1935 to 1936. He was also a noted patron of the British film industry with the Sutherland Trophy named in his honour.

Cranley Gordon Douglas Onslow, Baron Onslow of Woking, was a British politician and served as the Conservative MP for Woking from 1964 to 1997.

James Purdon Lewes Thomas, 1st Viscount Cilcennin, PC, sometimes known as Jim Thomas, was a British Conservative politician. He served as First Lord of the Admiralty between 1951 and 1956.

William James Robert Peel, 3rd Earl Peel,, styled Viscount Clanfield until 1969, was a Conservative peer from 15 May 1973 until October 2006 when, on his appointment as Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household, he became a crossbench (non-party) member of the House of Lords.

Arthur William Ashton Peel, 2nd Earl Peel, styled Viscount Clanfield from 1929 to 1937, was a British peer.


Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Alex May (2004). "Peel, William Robert Wellesley, first Earl Peel (1867–1937)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Lord Peel, Family Tradition Of Statesmanship, The Times, 30 September 1937, p. 14
  3. "London County Council election at Woolwich". The Times (36075). London. 26 February 1900. p. 7.
  4. "No. 28638". The London Gazette . 23 August 1912. p. 6288.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Marquess of Lorne
Member of Parliament for Manchester South
Succeeded by
Arthur Haworth
Preceded by
Sir Edward Boyle, Bt
Member of Parliament for Taunton
Succeeded by
Sir Gilbert Wills, Bt
Political offices
Preceded by
Cyril Cobb
Chairman of the London County Council
Succeeded by
Cyril Jackson
Preceded by
The Earl of Crawford
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Succeeded by
Sir William Sutherland
Preceded by
Eric Campbell Geddes
Minister of Transport
Succeeded by
The Earl of Crawford
Preceded by
Edwin Montagu
Secretary of State for India
Succeeded by
The Lord Olivier
Preceded by
Frederick William Jowett
First Commissioner of Works
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Londonderry
Preceded by
The Earl of Birkenhead
Secretary of State for India
Succeeded by
William Wedgwood Benn
Preceded by
Thomas Johnston
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Lord Snowden
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl Peel
Succeeded by
Arthur Peel
Preceded by
Arthur Wellesley Peel
Viscount Peel