LADBROKE, Robert (?1739-1814), of Pall Mall, Mdx. and Tadworth Court, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. ?1739, s. of Sir Robert Ladbroke†, distiller and banker, of London and Idlicote, Warws. by Elizabeth, da. of John Brown of St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, London.1 m. 19 Sept. 1769, Elizabeth, da. of Robert Fitzhardinge Kingscote of Walthamstow, Essex, 3s.2 suc. fa. 1773.
Dir. Westminster Life Insurance Office c.1808-d.
From his father Ladbroke inherited property in London and four counties and his share in the London bank of Ladbroke, Rawlinson and Porker, in which he was already a partner. By 1791 the bank was known as Ladbroke, Rawlinson, Porker and Watson, and by 1811 it had become Ladbroke, Watson and Gillman. He sold Idlicote, bought by his father in 1769, and purchased estates in Surrey.3 He also invested in East India Company stock.
He joined the Whig Club in 1785 and as Member for Warwick on the independent interest opposed Pitt in the 1784 Parliament. In 1788 the Pittite Earl of Warwick decided to reassert his electoral interest in the borough and Ladbroke began to look elsewhere for a seat for the next general election. In 1789 he bought the Graham property at Gatton, which commanded the return of one Member, for a reported sum of £80,000, and also Earl Spencer’s estate at Okehampton for £17,000. The price for the latter did not take account of the electoral interest which it provided, but as part of the bargain it was agreed that the sale was to be kept secret and that Ladbroke was to stand for the borough at the next general election ostensibly as Spencer’s candidate, enjoying his full support but taking the expense upon himself. In December 1789 he had second thoughts about standing, but in the event he came forward in harness with the Duke of Bedford’s nominee.4 They were opposed by two ministerialists and the contest ended in a double return, but Ladbroke and his colleague were subsequently seated by decision of the House. For Gatton he returned John Nesbitt, a fellow Whig.
He is not known to have spoken in the House during this period and his days of active opposition were apparently over, for he did not vote against government on the Oczakov question either on 12 Apr. 1791 or 1 Mar. 1792, though he was named among absent critics of the ministry on the former occasion. He was also listed, that month, as in favour of the repeal of the Test Act. He was thought of for the ‘third party’ in February 1793 and invited to their meeting on the 17th. He did not attend, but he was one of the Members who seceded from the Whig Club with Windham at the end of the month. Shortly after the junction of the Portland Whigs with government in 1794, he sounded Portland about his prospects of obtaining an Irish peerage, but received no encouragement. His unexplained vote for Grey’s peace motion, 23 Jan. 1795, is the only known instance of his opposing Pitt’s first ministry after 1790, but ministers were no more than ‘hopeful’ of his support when they compiled their survey for the 1796 general election. Ladbroke did not come in on that occasion, having sold his Gatton property to John Petrie* for £110,000 and made over the Okehampton estate to the Prince of Wales, a personal friend, under some unknown ‘private agreement’.5
In October 1801 he wrote to Lord Pelham congratulating him and his colleagues in the Addington administration on concluding peace, ‘the salvation of the country’. At the general election of 1802 he was returned for Winchelsea, probably as a paying guest on the Barwell interest. It was mistakenly reported that he had also been elected elsewhere and had ‘offered his seat at Winchelsea to the Prince of Wales’.6 He duly voted for inquiry into the Prince’s financial claims, 4 Mar. 1803, but is not known otherwise to have opposed the Addington government until 23 Apr. 1804, when he voted for Fox’s motion on the national defences. In the ministerial list of May he was included among the Carlton House party, as he was again in September, after opposing Pitt’s additional force bill in June 1804. He voted against government on the Spanish war, 12 Feb., defence, 21 Feb., the Additional Force Act, 6 Mar., and the Melville affair, 8 Apr. and 12 June 1805, and was classed as ‘Opposition’ in July.
Ladbroke was presumably favourably inclined towards the ‘Talents’, though he did not vote for the repeal of the Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, and it was as a stranger that he wrote to Lord Grenville soliciting patronage later in the year. At the general election he was returned, after a contest, for Malmesbury on the Estcourt interest and survived a subsequent petition. About 12 years later (Sir) Mark Wood I*, the new proprietor of Gatton, claimed that he had turned down on political grounds Ladbroke’s offer of 10,000 guineas for a seat there. He was reckoned ‘adverse’ to the abolition of the slave trade, but after the fall of the ‘Talents’ he voted for Brand’s motion condemning the ministerial pledge on Catholic relief, 9 Apr. 1807. The following day he was granted two weeks’ leave of absence and excused from attendance on election committees on account of his age.7 He did not stand at the general election of 1807.
Ladbroke died 1 July 1814 ‘in his 75th year’, leaving most of his real and personal estate to his eldest son, £10,000 owed to him by the bank to his younger sons, £20,000 to be invested in government stock and other legacies in excess of £9,000.8
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. London mar. lic. 6 Nov. 1734; Reg St. Botolph , i. 558. He had a bro. George and four sisters (PCC 435 Stevens).
- 2. Essex Par. Regs. iv. 37; PCC 428 Bridport.
- 3. PCC 435 Stevens; VCH Warws. v. 96; VCH Surr. iii. 292.
- 4. VCH Surr. iii. 198; Spencer mss, Ladbroke to Spencer, 4 Sept., Harrison to Ladbroke, 18 Dec. 1789.
- 5. Portland mss PwV107, Portland to Ladbroke, 18 Aug. 1794; VCH Surr. iii. 198; Devon RO, Bedford mss bdle. 23/12, Harrison to Gotobed, 8 Jan. 1797.
- 6. Add. 33108, f. 95; Cornw. RO, Johnstone mss DDJ 2100(8), Wilson to Hawkins, 15 July 1802.
- 7. Fortescue mss, Ladbroke to Grenville, 23 Oct. 1806; Add. 38368, f. 206; CJ, lxii. 316.
- 8. Gent. Mag. (1814), ii. 91; PCC 428 Bridport.