The Mayor of Fazeley, Cllr Rebecca James, will be among the official guests at the national service of commemoration at St Editha’s Church on Sunday, 3 February, to mark the 225th anniversary of the birth of Sir Robert Peel.
The Peel Society, who have held anniversary services since its foundation in the town in 1979, are calling the event the biggest Peel-related commemorative service in Tamworth’s history since the politician’s death in 1850.
Peel Society curator, David Biggs, said, “It will be a day that pays fitting and deserved tribute to a towering national and local hero, and demonstrates the justifiable pride that so many Tamworthians take in our history. It showcases our town to a host of influential visitors, with all the benefits that may bring now and in the future.”
Among the guests will be representatives of the Peel family, including descendants of four of Sir Robert’s seven children. Sir Robert’s policing legacy will be reflected by senior representatives from 31 territorial police forces, one special force and 11 police-related organisations.
All of Peel’s surviving successors as Tamworth MP will also pay tribute, including current MP Christopher Pincher and his predecessor Brian Jenkins.
Mr Biggs added, “I’m pleased that Tamworth’s young people and local organisations will be involved in this community event. Several major community groups and clubs will be officially attending to show their pride in our heritage.”
The service will start at 2.30pm, followed by a procession to the Peel statue for a wreath-laying ceremony.
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, was born in Bury, Lancashire, on 5 February 1788 and entered Parliament in 1809 at the young age of 21 as MP for the Irish rotten borough of Cashel, Tipperary. He was MP for Tamworth from 1830 until his death in 1850.
Peel was Prime Minister from 10 December 1834 to 8 April 1835, and again from 30 August 1841 to 29 June 1846. Peel was also the Leader of the Opposition (18 April 1835 – 30 August 1841), Chancellor of the Exchequer, (2 December 1834 – 8 April 1835), and Home Secretary (17 January 1822 – 10 April 1827).
While Home Secretary, Peel helped create the modern concept of the police force, leading to officers being known as “Bobbies”, in England, and “Peelers” in Northern Ireland.
In 1832, as Prime Minister, Peel issued the Tamworth Manifesto from Tamworth’s Town Hall, which led to the formation of the modern Conservative Party. During his second term as Prime Minister, he repealed the Corn Laws.
Sir Robert Peel is also credited with the development of the Tamworth Pig by breeding Irish stock with some local Tamworth pigs.