William Gladstone takes office as Vice-President of the Board of Trade

William Ewart Gladstone is appointed Vice-President of the Board of Trade under Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel. Gladstone, described by Macaulay as ‘The rising hope of those stern unbending Tories…’ later became leader of the Liberal Party and was Prime Minister four times. At the Board of Trade, he was responsible for reforming company legislation and the 1844 Railway Act which introduced cheap one penny fares (per mile) for third class passengers and provided for the possibility of nationalising the railways.