Sir Robert Peel, English manufacturer, c 1790.
© NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library
Painting on tile by John Eyre and Katherine Sturgeon of Doulton and Co. Sir Robert Peel (1750-1830), first baronet, was the son of Robert Peel and responsible for the 1802 Act for the Preservation of the Health of Apprentices, which was the forerunner of the Factory Reform Act. He applied the discoveries of Sir Richard Arkwright (1732-1792) and James Hargreaves (c 1720-1778) to his calico-printing works in Lancashire, and employed Hargreaves, the inventor of the spinning jenny, to construct an improved carding-machine. As well as being a succesful cotton manufacturer, Peel was a politician, and served as MP for Tamworth, Staffordshire in 1790.