Russell Road, E17

Place Name

John Russell (August 18, 1792 – May 28, 1878), often better known by his courtesy title Lord John Russell was a Liberal hero who twice served as Prime Minister. It was Russell who in 1832 moved the Great Reform Act, paving the way for an end to rule by the aristocracy and landed gentry. As Home Secretary between 1835 and 1839 he introduced the Municipal Reform Bill and reduced the number of capital crimes. He further angered the landed classes by backing the real of the Corn Laws, which had kept the price of this staple artificially high. Under his premiership between 1846 and 1852 he secured social reforms such as funding teacher training and the passage of the Factories Act 1847, which restricted the working hours of women and children (aged 13–18) in textile mills to 10 hours per day. His reforms of church finances, however, proved less popular – at least with the church. When he lost to the Conservatives he was deposed as leader by his arch-rival Lord Palmerston, who had been plotting Russell’s downfall and who later went on to become Prime Minister himself. When Palmerston died in office 1865, Russell was chosen to replace him. But his second term failed to achieve the successes of his first and his Government soon fell apart. Palmerston Road runs nearby and is part of a small cluster of roads named after prominent Victorian figures.

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