Described by Sir William Harcourt as ‘the last Doge of Whiggism’, Russell was Whig later Liberal MP for Tavistock 1813-17, 1818-20 and 1830-31, Huntingdonshire 1820-26, Bandon 1826-30, Devonshire 1831-32, Devonshire South 1832-35, Stroud 1835-41 and City of London 1841-61. A keen reformer, Russell was one of the major figures in the struggle to pass the 1832 Reform Act. Along with Lord Palmerston, Russell was a key member of every non-Tory government between 1846 and 1865 and the rivalry of the two men dominated the politics of the period. Russell’s two spells as Prime Minister (1846-52 and 1865-66) were neither particularly happy nor productive; however his first administration was responsible for the 1847 Factory Act and the Public Health Act of 1848. Charles Dickens dedicated A Tale of Two Cities to Russell ‘In remembrance of many public services and private kindnesses’.