Welcome to the History of Parliament blog!

Here we share posts about our current research projects, wider parliamentary history, highlights from our events, seminars and conferences, and future publications. The History of Parliament’s core work lies in researching and writing series of volumes depicting Parliamentary life and proceedings throughout the past 700 years. These academically rigorous works contain detailed biographies of parliamentarians, studies of constituencies and introductory surveys. The Sections currently underway … Continue reading Welcome to the History of Parliament blog!

The search for good governance

As the History of Parliament Oral History Project continues to go from strength to strength following a two-year hiatus, here volunteer interviewer Peter Reilly reflects on his recent interview with Lord David Hunt, MP for Wirral and later Wirral West 1976-1997. A member of cabinet under both Margaret Thatcher and John Major, throughout his career- and interview- Hunt proved committed to a topic still making … Continue reading The search for good governance

Heraldry, Pomp and Power: The Use of Parliamentary Symbols on Coats of Arms, c.1527-2006

Ahead of next Tuesday’s hybrid Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Duncan Sutherland. On 15 November, between 5.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Duncan will discuss the longstanding connection between Parliament and heraldry from the 16th century to the modern day. Continue reading Heraldry, Pomp and Power: The Use of Parliamentary Symbols on Coats of Arms, c.1527-2006

“contagion lies in a wainscot”: the tragic history of the dukes of Bolton & 37, Grosvenor Square

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Robin Eagles considers the tragic history of the family of the dukes of Bolton and the strange coincidence that brought about the deaths of two peers in the same house in London… Trigger Warning: This post deals with themes of suicide. Writing in July 1765, Horace Walpole was at pains to insist that there could not … Continue reading “contagion lies in a wainscot”: the tragic history of the dukes of Bolton & 37, Grosvenor Square

‘A very disagreeable situation’: the brief premiership of William Cavendish, 4th duke of Devonshire

Following Liz Truss’s record-breaking short tenure as Prime Minister, recently much attention has turned towards some of the historical figures who held the post of Premier for only a short period of time. William Cavendish, 4th duke of Devonshire, is amongst this list, serving only 255 days in office. But as Charles Littleton from our Lords 1715-1790 project explores, it was never Devonshire’s intention to … Continue reading ‘A very disagreeable situation’: the brief premiership of William Cavendish, 4th duke of Devonshire

‘A hotch-potch ministry’ – the brief but tempestuous premiership of the 2nd earl of Shelburne

Following the resignation of Liz Truss after 44 days in office, attention has turned to some of the previous figures to hold short tenures as Prime Minister. In 1782 William Petty, 2nd earl of Shelburne, became Premier and oversaw a shaky 266 days at the top, as Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project explores… Lord Shelburne is not much remembered now as a … Continue reading ‘A hotch-potch ministry’ – the brief but tempestuous premiership of the 2nd earl of Shelburne

Claiming the parliamentary tradition? The legacy of the Irish home rule party and Anglo-Irish relations in the 1930s

Our Parliaments, Politics and People seminar is back for the autumn term! At next week’s seminar Dr Martin O’Donoghue of the University of Sheffield, will discuss the legacy of the Irish home rule party and Anglo-Irish relations in the 1930s. The seminar takes place on 1 November 2022, between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. You can attend online via Zoom. Details of how to join the discussion are available … Continue reading Claiming the parliamentary tradition? The legacy of the Irish home rule party and Anglo-Irish relations in the 1930s

Profile of an 18th century Black Voter: George John Scipio Africanus

In a second blog for this year’s Black History Month, we are once again hearing from Helen Wilson, PhD candidate with the History of Parliament and the Open University. Within Helen’s research she has been uncovering the previously overlooked presence of Black voters in 18th century Britain, including figures like George Africanus, profiled below… The eighteenth century saw many geo-political expansions and retractions for the … Continue reading Profile of an 18th century Black Voter: George John Scipio Africanus

The Presence of Black Voters in the 18th and 19th Centuries

October is Black History Month in the UK, as institutions like the History of Parliament attempt to re-insert and highlight the Black experience into fields of history previously overlooking this. Here, we hear from Helen Wilson, PhD candidate with the History of Parliament and Open University, who is researching the Black and Mixed Ethnicity Presence in British Politics, 1750-1850. As Helen explains, despite significant barriers … Continue reading The Presence of Black Voters in the 18th and 19th Centuries

‘All men of Englond ar bounde for hym to pray’: The Funeral of King Edward IV, April 1483

Reports have suggested that as many as 35 million viewers in the UK tuned in to watch the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As much of the nation, and the world, continues to reflect on her passing, here Dr Hannes Kleineke editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project explores the similarities between this funeral in September 2022 and the funeral of King Edward IV … Continue reading ‘All men of Englond ar bounde for hym to pray’: The Funeral of King Edward IV, April 1483

Publication Announcement: ‘Big Ben: An Icon of Democracy and Leadership’

The History of Parliament are excited to announce the upcoming release of our newest publication in collaboration with St James’s House publishing. ‘Big Ben: An Icon of Democracy and Leadership‘ will be published in December. St James’s House has shared the following information about the publication… The History of Parliament Trust and publisher St James’s House are celebrating the long-awaited reopening of Big Ben and … Continue reading Publication Announcement: ‘Big Ben: An Icon of Democracy and Leadership’