|Mayor of Liverpool|
|Preceded by||John S. Leigh|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Sands|
15 November 1805|
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
|Died||23 September 1875
Court Hey Hall, Lancashire, England
|Spouse(s)||Mary Ellen Jones
|Relations||William Ewart Gladstone (Brother)
Sir John Gladstone (Father)
|Alma mater||University of Glasgow|
|Religion||Church of England|
Robertson Gladstone (15 November 1805 – 23 September 1875) was an English merchant and politician. He was the second son, and third child of Sir John Gladstone and the brother of William Ewart Gladstone who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom four times.
Robertson, along with his siblings was bought up in Liverpool at the Gladstone home in Rodney Street and then at Seaforth House from 1813. He studied at Eton College along with his older brothers Thomas and William. However, he did not seem to have the motivation to become a politician and his father felt that Eton did not suit him. John Gladstone decided that Robertson should become a merchant, first as his assistant, and then as partner.
In September 1821, sixteen-year-old Robertson was sent to attend the University of Glasgow, where his cousin Steuart Gladstone studied before becoming a merchant. John Gladstone's sister, Mary, and her husband, Dr John Nimmo, lived in Glasgow, and Robertson boarded there with his aunt and uncle while he studied mathematics, moral philosophy and natural philosophy at the university. He then returned to Liverpool work in the offices of his father's company.
On 28 September 1827 he traveled with his brother Thomas to spend the Winter in Naples. Whilst there they viewed an eruption of Vesuvius. On his return to England he proposed to his father that he should visit the family estates in the West Indies with his father accepting the proposal. Leaving on 12 October 1828 he traveled to Demerara, British Guiana, arriving in November and remained for three months until March 1829. Robertson made record of this journey in his Journal of a Voyage & Residence in the Colony of Demerara which is held in the library of the Liverpool Athenaeum. He traveled back to England via the United States of America where he stopped in Philadelphia.
Marriage and family
He was engaged at the age of 30 to Mary Ellen Jones (d. 23 September 1865), daughter of a notable local banker, Hugh Jones. They married on 28 January 1836 in St George's Church, Liverpool. The marriage caused disagreements within the Gladstone family because of the religious beliefs of the Jones family who were unitarians, a faith which was considered to be divergent from the evangelical Church of England beliefs of the Gladstone family. After the marriage a mansion house called Court Hey Hall was built in the same year as their family home.
They had eight children together.
- John Gladstone (b. 1838 - d. 13 October 1852 at Court Hey)
- Mary Ellen Gladstone (b. 1840 - d. 17 September 1895)
- Arthur Robertson Gladstone, Capt (b. 1841 - d. 30 March 1896, late of Court Hey)
- Hugh Jones Gladstone (b. 1843 - d. 1 September 1874 at Court Hey)
- Robertson Gladstone (b. 14 September 1844 - d. November 1893 in Liverpool, late of Court Hey)
- Walter Longueville Gladstone (b. 30 September 1846 - d. 14 May 1919) - donated a unique organ to All Saints Church in Childwall with an inscription to his father, mother and uncle William.
- Anna Maria Heywood Gladstone (b. 1848 - d. 14 May 1901)
- Richard Francis Gladstone (b. 24 December 1849 - d. 2 May 1909, late of Court Hey)
None of sons had issue.
Political and community activities
Gladstone purchased the patronage of St Andrew's Church in Renshaw Street, Liverpool, a church which was built by his father.
Active in radical Liverpool politics, he was elected as one of the councilors in Liverpool's Abercromby ward as part of the 1838 Municipal Elections. This was his third attempt at taking the seat, and this was noted as a "The scene of a great Tory truimph, however it was achieved." He served as mayor of the city between 1842 and 1843. In 1846 he was one of the 'gentlemen' present during the visit of Prince Albert to the Liverpool Sailors' Home. As a measure of his continued importance he was still a member of seven of the thirteen town council committees in 1859. In 1862 he unsuccessfully supported Charles Mozley as candidate for mayor. In November 1863 he again proposed him for mayor, and with a majority of five Mozley became the first Jewish mayor of Liverpool.
In August 1845 he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Grand Junction Railway and was also on the committee of the Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway. He was the first President of the Liverpool Financial Reform Association after it was instituted in Liverpool on 20 April 1848., a body which was noted as "the most persistent and single-minded free trade body England had ever known".
Robertson inherited his father's Liverpool firm after John Gladstone's death in 1851
Later life and death
He lost around £6,000 of his brother William's share of the Seaforth estate. He died on 23 September 1875 at Court Hey. Much of his extensive property portfolio was sold at a Liverpool auction the following year between 7 and 9 February. This included dozens of homes on Liverpool’s most prestigious streets including a row of townhouses in Rodney Street and stables, workshops and homes in Dale Street and Hope Street.
The executors of his estate were his sons Robertson and Arthur. His will was "proved in the Liverpool District Court of Probate. The personality was sworn under £120,000. A sum of £500 was bequeathed to local charities and schools."
- George W. E. Russell, The Right Honourable William Ewart Gladstone (Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, 1891)
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- A History of Court Hey Park by George Peet, 2002, ISBN 978-0-9544245-0-3
- The Liverpool Mercury, Newspaper articles, 1800–1900