NS2676 : Memorial to Robert Wallace

taken 8 years ago, near to Greenock, Inverclyde, Great Britain

Memorial to Robert Wallace
Memorial to Robert Wallace
This memorial occupies a prominent position at the top of a long straight path within Greenock Cemetery. It commemorates Robert Wallace of Kelly, who was Greenock's first Member of Parliament (1832-45), and his wife, Margaret Forbes.

His father, John Wallace, had made his fortune as a West India trader and tobacco merchant. In the 1790s, he bought the Kelly Estate (at Wemyss Bay NS1968) from the Bannatynes, and built Kelly House there. That house was located at about NS19496884, but was torn down in the 1890s, at which time a new Kelly House was built at a different location (it, in turn, was demolished in 1940).

In 1803, Robert Wallace inherited the Kelly estate from his father. He claimed to be a descendant of William Wallace; as noted in the inscription, "Robert Wallace was the descendant and representative of the renowned champion of Scottish independence and inherited no small portion of the patriotic spirit and indomitable energy of his ancestor".

He was elected four times in succession. At the first election, in 1832, his opponent was John Fairrie, a sugar refiner. In 1835, Wallace stood unopposed. In 1837, he faced James Smith of Jordanhill, and in 1841, Sir Thomas John Cochrane. According to R.M.Smith's "History of Greenock" (1921), this last contest was remarkable for "the issuing of a challenge to a duel between the candidates".

The inscription also records "his indefatigable and successful labours in the cause of legal and post office reform", and that he, "by his casting vote as Chairman of the Committee of the House of Commons carried the vote in favour of the penny postage".

He does indeed deserve to be credited for beginning the campaign for cheap postage, although his work has unjustly been overshadowed by the (later) efforts of Rowland Hill.

Of the two stones in front of the larger memorial, the one on the left commemorates Dame Janet Lucretia Wallace Cunningham Fairlie, daughter of John Wallace of Cessnock and Kelly, and widow of Sir John Cunningham Fairlie, Baronet.

The Robert Wallace memorial is location № 17 on the Blue Walk in the "Greenock Cemetery Walks" booklet (see the end-note).
Greenock Cemetery
The cemetery, which is laid out on Bow Hill, opened in 1846. For detailed information, see the Geograph article "Greenock Cemetery" Link and, for a map and useful guide, the booklet "Greenock Cemetery Walks" LinkExternal link (PDF) produced by East End Advisory (funded by Inverclyde Council); the PDF link works, as of January 2016.
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NS2676, 109 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Saturday, 17 September, 2011   (more nearby)
Submitted
Thursday, 29 September, 2011
Geographical Context
Burial ground, Crematorium 
Place (from Tags)
Greenock 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 2645 7630 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:56.8980N 4:46.8526W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 2647 7629
View Direction
West-northwest (about 292 degrees)
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Greenock Cemetery  Memorial 

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