The Hon. Sir George Rose (1782-1873) was elected first chairman of the Law Life Insurance Society in 1844. He held the position for over twenty years, attending board meetings regularly until 1859. An informed yet approachable manner characterised his every role and faciliated his rise through the legal profession.
The son of James Rose, a barge owner, George was elected king's scholar whilst at Westminster School and was subsequently made scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. Financial hardship prevented him from completing his degree though he later received an honorary M.A.
Rose was called to bar in May 1809. He specialised in bankruptcy cases; perhaps his own experience of poverty lending integrity to his judgement. He wrote an extensive report on those over which Lord Eldon (Lord Chancellor 1819-1821) presided. In December 1824 he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn and in May 1827 he was elected king's councel by Eldon's successor, Lord Lyndhurst. In 1831 he was sworn in as one of the judges in the new court of review and bankruptcy. He held this position until the court was restructured in 1840, whereupon he took up the post of a mastership in chancery until it was rendered defunct in 1858. He retired on £2,500 a year.
Rose's ready wit was immortalised in this celebrated ditty on the sometimes obtuse vagaries of Lord Eldon's court:
Mr Leach made a speech
Angry, neat, and wrong;
Mr Hart, on the other part,
Was right, but dull and long.
Mr Parker made that darker
Which was dark enough without;
Mr Cooke quoted his book,
And the Chancellor said, 'I doubt'.