Sir Rt Hon. Earl Robert Walpole KG PC KB
(1676-1745)

Died aged 68

Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745), known before 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as the de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain. Although the exact dates of his dominance are a matter of scholarly debate, 1721–42 are often used. He dominated the Walpole–Townshend Ministry and the Walpole Ministry and holds the record as the longest serving Prime Minister in British history. Critics called his system the "Robinocracy." Speck says that Walpole's uninterrupted run of 20 years as Prime Minister "is rightly regarded as one of the major feats of British political history... Explanations are usually offered in terms of his expert handling of the political system after 1720, [and] his unique blending of the surviving powers of the crown with the increasing influence of the Commons." He was a Whig from the gentry class, who was first elected to Parliament in 1701, and held many senior positions. He was a country squire and looked to country gentlemen for his political base. Historian Frank O'Gorman says his leadership in Parliament reflected his "reasonable and persuasive oratory, his ability to move both the emotions as well as the minds of men, and, above all, his extraordinary self-confidence." Hoppit says Walpole's policies sought moderation: he worked for peace, lower taxes, growing exports, and allowed a little more tolerance for Protestant Dissenters. He avoided controversy and high-intensity disputes, as his middle way attracted moderates from both the Whig and Tory camps. Dickinson sums up his historical role: Walpole was one of the greatest politicians in British history. He played a significant role in sustaining the Whig party, safeguarding the Hanoverian succession, and defending the principles of the Glorious Revolution (1688) ... He established a stable political supremacy for the Whig party and taught succeeding ministers how best to establish an effective working relationship between Crown and Parliament.

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

Nick Harrison on Flickr
Simon Harriyott on Flickr

Sir Robert Walpole 1676-1745 Prime Minister and his son Horace Walpole 1717-1797 connoisseur and man of letters lived here

5 Arlington Street, Westminster, SW1 1RA, London, United Kingdom where they lived

In this court in the 18th century stood the Fountain Tavern where the political opponents of Sir Robert Walpole met using the title of the Fountain Club Also the Coal Hole the meeting place of the Wolf Club of which about 1826 Edmund Kean was a leading member

Strand, London, United Kingdom where they was