Robert Peel Lamond – lawyer and Poor Law reformer

Robert Peel Lamond was a lawyer and legal author from a family of lawyers who were active in Glasgow city politics.

He was a member of the first Committee of Management of the Arlington Swimming Club when it was founded in 1870.

His family and Prime Minister Robert Peel

In 1830 Robert Lamond is listed in the Post Office Directory, living at 131 Ingram Street. He is a writer, which was a role in the legal profession. By 1835, according to the Directory, he has a company called Lamond and Monteith, the firm is at 60 Ingram Street and he lives at 202 Renfrew Street.In 1840, Robert Lamond is in the Post Office Directory as part of Lamond and Monteith which has offices at 65 St Vincent Street, and he is living at 2 Jane Street, Blythswood Square.

In 1837 there was a huge celebration in Glasgow to honour the visit of the former prime minister Sir Robert Peel to the city and celebrate his election as rector of Glasgow University. In the published account of the event, Robert Lamond is named as a Secretary on the committee that oversaw the organisation of the visit and of the massive banquet held in his honour.

Robert Lamond was the father of Robert Peel Lamond, born on 28 October 1841. At that time Sir Robert Peel was beginning his second term as Prime Minister, so it seems that Robert Lamond named his new son for his political hero!

His mother was Catherine Mathie, and his parents had married on 29 December 1829. In 1841 they already had four other children: James (8), William (5), Thomas (3), and Henry (1) and lived in Row (Rhu) in Dunbartonshire.

By 1851 they had moved to 18 India Street in Glasgow where Robert is described as being a Procurator & Solicitor Before The Court Of Lanarkshire. There are only three children on the 1851 census, all young girls: Camilla (7), Catherine (5), Jemima (1). Perhaps the boys had been sent away to school?

The enthusiasm for Robert Peel the politician remained undimmed in Glasgow.

In a report in the Glasgow Herald of 3 December 1852, a Mr Lamond Jnr – we’re not not sure if this is Robert or another member of the family – is mentioned as participating in the committee raising money to erect a statue of Robert Peel in the city.

Robert Peel statue, in George Square, Glasgow

Robert Lamond continued to be active in politics. For example, he is mentioned in an account of an election hustings for Robert Dalglish, MP,  in the Glasgow Herald on 25 March 2857, who was the father of one of the other founders of the Arlington Baths.

Robert Lamond died in Helensburgh in 1859, and his son Henry is named among the executors of his will. Robert Peel would have been about 17 or 18 at the time.

This was also the year that Robert Peel statue, sculpted by John Mossman, was eventually erected in Glasgow’s George Square.

Lawyer and critic of poor law legislation

Robert Peel followed his father into the legal profession. His business address when he became a member of the first Committee of Management of the Arlington Swimming Club was 64 Regent Street, where the name of the firm is now H & R Lamond.

We assume that the H in H & R Lamond is his brother Henry Lamond. He had previously been with a company called Lamond and MacLuckie. The 1861 Post Office Directory has the company listed as Lamond and Macluckie, writers and agents to the Eagle Insurance Co., 36 St. Vincent Place. Henry himself is listed as “writer (Lamond and Macluckie), and clerk to the Skinners’ and Cordiners’ Incorporations” and he was still living at the Lamond’s Glasgow address of 18 India Street. From 1862 to 1871 Henry Lamond lived at 22 Westminster Terrace  and from 1882 to 1888 he was at 26 Kinsgborough Gardens. At that point the company seems to be called Lamond and MacReadie, and had offices at 93 West Regent St.

Just a year after the founding of the Arlington Baths, the 1871 census shows that Robert Peel was living at 7 Clifton Place with his wife Isabella (24) and their children Robert (3) and Henry (1) plus two servants. His occupation is Writer and Procurator. Robert and Isabella had married in 1866. They had a third child in May 1871, a girl called Isabella, and went on to have at six more!

In 1891 census they were living at 6 Rosslyn Terrace and the family consisted of:

  • Robert P Lamond, 49
  • Isabella Lamond, 43
  • Robert Lamond, 23
  • Henry Lamond, 21
  • Isabella McG Lamond, 19
  • Catherine M Lamond, 18
  • John M Lamond, 16
  • Camilla L Lamond, 14
  • George A W Lamond, 12
  • Douglas Lamond, 7
  • Jane W Lamond, 5

There were also two servants.

In 1892 Robert Peel Lamond published a book called The Scottish poor laws : their history, policy and operation. According the preface this was an update to a book he had published anonymously in 1870, when legislation was being proposed in the House of Commons to change the Poor Laws.

“The Select Committee had not finished its inquiry when my contribution appeared. They sent for copies and saw fit in their report to recommend some of the changes suggested in my work. Still more recently other proposals made in the first edition have passed into law.”

Preface, The Scottish poor laws : their history, policy and operation by Robert Peel Lamond, 1892

According to Wikipedia “The Poor Law (Scotland) Act 1845 created a central Board of Supervision which had the ability to raise local taxes to cover Poor relief costs. Unlike in England, the Scottish pauper had a legal right to appeal if they were denied poor relief. Outdoor relief [ie given to the person in their home rather than making them go into a workhouse] was common; however, mismanagement of the system meant that a more restricted system after 1868 which relied more on the poorhouse.”

There’s a lot more about the Scottish Poor Law and the impact that the legislation had on the lives of people in poverty on the Workhouses website, and there’s information about poor houses in Glasgow on the Glasgow Punter blog.

However the family had suffered a misfortune. The Glasgow Herald of 8 January 1892 published a story about Robert Peel Lamond appearing in the Glasgow bankruptcy court. He explained that he had lost a lot of money due to the failure of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1878, and an increase in costs of his investments in property. After his widowed sister lost money that he had invested with the Bank on her behalf, he had continued to paid her an allowance out of his own pocket and had also made money from his legal practice to provide for his family.

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By 1901 Robert Peel and Isabella were at living 8 Marchmont Terrace, with most of the children all still there.

Robert Peel died on 20 November 1909

Robert Peel and Isabella’s son George was an engineer and a talented rugby player who played for Scotland. He died in the First World War. There’s a lot more information about him on The Western Front Association website.

Isabella died in 1 October 1921.


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