We take a walk up a bloomin' big hill to check out the memorial to the former Prime Minister
People get memorials for anything now a days. Get to the semi finals of the X Factor and they’ll stick a blue plaque on your house. The people of Holcombe, however showed one of the greatest ever Englishmen how they felt with a monument to be proud of.
If you’re currently putting together a CV then it’s probably best not to look at the achievements of Sir Robert Peel, for the very likely reason that he’ll give you an inferiority complex. As Home Secretary he is credited with creating the modern police force and the two monickers under which they are and have been known, bobbies and Peelers, are a direct homage to him.
Not content with being Prime Minister once, he took the position twice, (Take that Thatcher!) from 1834-35 and again from 1841 to 1846. During this time he managed to help Britain take one of its biggest steps towards free trade by repealing the corn laws. After his death, his followers would join the Whigs and form the Liberal Party.
How do you honour a man whose career has, literally changed the world?
Every flashing blue light which passes you on the motorway, every imported trinket you order off Ebay probably has its genesis in the life and work of Sir Robert Peel.
The answer, is twofold. Firstly you hire the guy responsible for Nelson’s Column to erect a statue outside Bury Library, the town of his birth. But intandem, because this wasn’t just any home town boy made good, you’d also have another, larger project....
Something a bit more lavish... A bit grander to make a fuss of the old boy.
That project would involve raising £1000 via public subscription to build a 128 foot tower, 1100 metres above sea level, which would stand as a monument to the man and his legacy.
Let’s not beat around the bush. That’s what Peel monument is. It’s a vote of thanks from local people who’s love of the great man was such that they were willing to put their hands in their collective pockets and stump up a large sum of money to do nothing more than remember his legacy.
Built high on Holcombe Hill from stone quarried from the hillside, the tower opened in 1852, the day after the unveiling of his statue. Over a century and a half later, people still flock to the monument, often oblivious to who the tower is dedicated to or why it was built.