Arthur Peel, 1st Viscount Peel

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The Right Honourable
The Viscount Peel
Picture of Arthur Peel, 1st Viscount Peel.jpg
Speaker of the House of Commons
In office
Monarch Queen Victoria
Preceded by The Hon Sir Henry Brand
Succeeded by Sir William Gully
Personal details
Born 3 August 1829 (1829-08-03)
Died 24 October 1912(1912-10-24) (aged 83)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Liberal Unionist
Spouse(s) Adelaide Dugdale (d. 1890)
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford

Arthur Wellesley Peel, 1st Viscount Peel, PC (3 August 1829 – 24 October 1912) 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.

Background and education[edit]

Peel was the youngest son of the Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel by his wife Julia, daughter of General Sir John Floyd, 1st Baronet, and was named after Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford.[1]

Political career[edit]

Peel was elected Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for Warwick in the 1865 general election and held the seat until 1885 when it was replaced under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885.[2] From 1868 to 1873 he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Poor Law Board, and then became Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade. In 1873–1874 he was patronage secretary to the Treasury, and in 1880 he became Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs in the second Gladstone government.[3] On the retirement of Sir Henry Brand, Peel was elected Speaker of the House of Commons on 26 February 1884.[4]

In the 1885 general election, Peel was elected for Warwick and Leamington. Throughout his career as Speaker, as the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition said, "he exhibited conspicuous impartiality, combined with a perfect knowledge of the traditions, usages and forms of the House, soundness of judgment, and readiness of decision upon all occasions."[5] Though now officially impartial, Peel left the Liberal Party over the issue of Home Rule and became a Liberal Unionist. Peel was also an important ally of Charles Bradlaugh in Bradlaugh's campaigns to have the oath of allegiance changed to permit non-Christians, agnostics and atheists to serve in the House of Commons.

Peel retired for health reasons[3] at the 1895 general election and was created Viscount Peel, of Sandy in the County of Bedford, with a pension of £4,000 for life.[3] He was presented with the freedom of the City of London in July of that year.[5] In 1896 he was chairman of a Royal Commission into the licensing laws. Other members of the Commission disagreed with part of his report, and he resigned the chair, leaving Sir Algernon West to complete a majority report. However, the report was published in Peel's name and recommended that the number of licensed houses should be greatly reduced. This report was a valuable weapon in the hands of reformers.[3]


Peel married Adelaide, daughter of William Stratford Dugdale, in 1862. She died in December 1890. Lord Peel remained a widower until his death in October 1912, aged 83. They had seven children. He was succeeded by his eldest son William Wellesley Peel, who was created Earl Peel in 1929. Peel's second son the Hon. Arthur George Villiers Peel was a politician and author, and his third son the Hon. Sidney Peel was also a politician and was created a Baronet in 1936.[6][7] Peel′s middle daughter the Hon. Agnes Mary Peel (1871-1959) married the Unionist politician Charles Sydney Goldman.


  1. ^ Debretts Guide to the House of Commons 1886
  2. ^ Hansard Millbank Systems - Arthur Peel
  3. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911.
  4. ^ HC Deb 26 February 1884 vol 285 cc17-30
  5. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Peel, Arthur Wellesley Peel, 1st Viscount". Encyclopædia Britannica. 21 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 39–40. 
  6. ^ the
  7. ^ Arthur Wellesley Peel, 1st Viscount Peel, PC Archived 2012-09-08 at the Wayback Machine., Cracroft's Peerage

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Repton
Edward Greaves
Member of Parliament for Warwick
With: George Repton 1865–1868, 1874–1885
Edward Greaves 1868–1874
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Warwick and Leamington
Succeeded by
Alfred Lyttelton
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt
Parliamentary Secretary to the Poor Law Board
Office abolished
Preceded by
George Shaw-Lefevre
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
George Bentinck
Preceded by
George Glyn
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
William Hart Dyke
Preceded by
Sir Matthew White Ridley, Bt
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
Succeeded by
Leonard Courtney
Preceded by
Hon. Sir Henry Brand
Speaker of the House of Commons
Succeeded by
Sir William Gully
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Viscount Peel
Succeeded by
William Wellesley Peel