Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Photo of the Day: The Bobby Who Made the Bobbies

It seemed a shame to waste this photo I took in London a week and a half ago, given that the fellow in this Matthew Noble statue in Parliament Square, Sir Robert Peel, was born on this date 225 years ago. I’ll bet that, if we Yanks know anything about him right now, it is as an answer to a Jeopardy-style question: “Which politician are the ‘Bobbies’ of London’s police force named after?” Indeed, “Bobby” Peel did, in 1822, as Home Secretary, create the Metropolitan Police—and a good thing, too, considering the crime about to overwhelm Britain’s capital as a result of urbanization and the Industrial Age. He would go on to even greater prominence in his country’s history as a two-time Conservative Prime Minister (1834-1835, 1841-1846).

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