Gimson: Lord Melbourne

Under his predecessor Wellington, he was made Home Secretary. When Wellington retired William IV in 1834, selected Melbourne as prime minister. However after 121 days William IV decided to replace him with Robert Peel. When Peel resigned Melbourne returned in 1835.

William IV died in 1837, he was succeeded by his niece Queen Victoria. The Queen sought the prime minster for his advice and installed him as prime minister. However when Queen Victoria married Albert in 1840, she no longer needed Melbourne to guide her. In 1841 he called a general election, which he ultimately lost and therefore resigned. He had a stroke within a year of resigning and suffered poor health until his death in 1848.

Gimson: Earl Grey

In 1830 King George V died. William IV became King and asked Earl Grey to be prime minister.

Under Grey the third reform bill became law and this reorganised what constituted a borough so that towns previously not represented gained an MP or two and other places with MP but few voters, were emagulated into other boroughs. The number eligible to vote increased. With that achieved Grey happily resigned in order to retire.

I regularly make pots of Earl Grey tea which is named after him.

Gimson: Duke of Wellington

In 1815 he conquered against Napoleon and his troops at the battle of Waterloo. He subsequently entered politics. He was overlooked by George V in favour of first Canning then Goderich. But in 1928 after George V let Goderich go, Wellington was asked to be prime minster.

Wellington addressed the issue of Catholic emancipation by in 1829 introducing Catholic Relief bill which allowed catholics to hold high offices including MP. Wellington resigned the following year. He returned briefly in 1834 as a kind of caretaker interim prime minister before Robert Peel could take the position.

  • Wellington died in 1852 and given a very grand funeral. His band has lived on as the Wellington boot, Wellington in New Zeland, the tree Wellingtonia and beef Wellington and more were all named after him.

Gimson: George Canning

Gimson states “George Canning was prime minster for only 119 days a shorter period than anyone else, but is one of the most fascinating figures in the book”. Read the book to find out more!

He got a seat in parliament because not knowing Pitt he wrote and asked him for help and his letter persuaded Pitt to meet him.

Canning had offered to be prime minster wen Portland resigned but, King George III did not accept and chose Spencer Perceval instead. He eventually became prime minster when Lord Liverpool resigned due to his stroke. In turn after 119 days as prime minster Canning died.

Gimson: Lord Liverpool

He was prime minster for 15 years, at the time only Pitt younger and Warpole had been prime minster longer.

His skills had been recognised by Pitt younger and others. When Pitt resigned he became foreign secretary. When Pitt returned as prime minster in 1804 Liverpool became Home Secretary. He was offered position of prime minster when Pitt died but refused as doubted his ability to control commons. When his predecessor Perceval was assassinated, he accepted the position of prime minister.

In 1820 George IV became King. He handled the King wanting to divorce his wife Caroline well. He helped found national gallery.

Liverpool Street station in London is named after him. I had not heard of him until reading this book.

He resigned after having a stroke. He died the following year.

Gimson: Spencer Perceval

Became prime minster after predecessor’s death.

Perceval was killed by shot to the heart (the only prime minster to be assassinated), in the House of Commons by John Bellingham. Bellingham was resentful of the government who refused to compensate him for the 5 years he spent in a Russian jail due to his debts.After killing Perceval, he was hanged.