On 8 October 1849, Cobden strolled out of a Peace meeting in the City of London to find himself confronted with an adulatory mob, desperate to catch a glimpse of the hero of Corn Law repeal. The mob pursued him down Cornhill, forcing him to take refuge in Raikes Currie’s bank, where he was able to escape out of a back door. 1 To modern eyes, there is something strikingly familiar about this scene, and Cobden’s experience would be recognised by many twenty-first century celebrities. But how and why had Cobden, a former warehouse clerk and scion of a decayed family of yeoman farmers, achieved such a public status? This chapter considers Cobden’s transition from a provincial ‘public man’ to a national hero and celebrity. It aims to explore the impact of this sudden rise to fame on Cobden himself, while suggesting that it can tell us much about the nature of early Victorian society and politics in general, and the role of the Anti-Corn Law League as a modernising agency within it.