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!

‘Better affected to Mars and Neptune, than to Mercury’: docks, diversity and the representation of Portsmouth in the civil wars and interregnum

In our latest blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, continues our local history look at port constituencies. Today’s focus is the naval city of Portsmouth, but were its maritime origins echoed in its 17th century parliamentary representation? The antiquarian and topographer William Camden characterised Portsmouth as ‘a place alwaies in time of warre well frequented, otherwise little resort there is … Continue reading ‘Better affected to Mars and Neptune, than to Mercury’: docks, diversity and the representation of Portsmouth in the civil wars and interregnum

Parliamentary Elections in the reign of Henry VI

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Hannes Kleineke, of the History of Parliament. On 1 June 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Hannes will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper on parliamentary elections in the reign of Henry VI. Details of how to join the discussion are available here, or by contacting seminar@histparl.ac.uk. The importance … Continue reading Parliamentary Elections in the reign of Henry VI

Exploring the roots of a regicide: Sir John Danvers, the University of Oxford and gardens

As we look forward to warmer weather and fewer Covid-related restrictions, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 section, considers the complex and contradictory career of a noted seventeenth-century horticulturalist… This week the Bodleian Library in Oxford launched an exhibition marking the quatercentenary of the foundation in 1621 of the city’s Botanic Garden. ‘Roots to Seeds’ explores the development of the physic garden, … Continue reading Exploring the roots of a regicide: Sir John Danvers, the University of Oxford and gardens

The shipping and the railway interests: Whitby’s electoral politics, 1832-1868

In today’s blog Dr Kathryn Rix, assistant editor of our Commons 1832-1868 project, continues our look at port constituencies for local history month. Here, she explores the electoral politics of Whitby after it was first granted the right to elect one MP in 1832… In July 1832 the ‘blues’ (Liberals) and ‘pinks’ (Conservatives) in the port of Whitby each held lavish celebrations to mark the … Continue reading The shipping and the railway interests: Whitby’s electoral politics, 1832-1868

Joseph Ablett and the treatment of mental illness in early Victorian Wales

Last week (10-16 May 2021) marked Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Today Dr Stephen Ball from our Commons 1832-1868 project looks into the career and legacy of Joseph Ablett (1773-1848), a wealthy cotton manufacturer and country squire. Although never technically an MP, Ablett was returned at a parliamentary election in 1826, and later made a significant contribution to the treatment of mental illness … Continue reading Joseph Ablett and the treatment of mental illness in early Victorian Wales

‘The dearest friend I ever had’: Richard Lumley, 2nd earl of Scarbrough

This week (10-16 May 2021) marks Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Mental illness is often hidden or misidentified in the historical record, and at the History of Parliament we’re trying to do our bit to correct this. Our research staff often identify cases of parliamentarians who suffered with their mental health, and today, Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, considers … Continue reading ‘The dearest friend I ever had’: Richard Lumley, 2nd earl of Scarbrough

Portraits, Plates and Pigs: Representations of National Leaders within the Material Culture of Scottish Radical Procession 1832-1884

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Sonny Angus, of the University of Edinburgh. On 18 May 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Sonny will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper on the material culture of Scottish radical politics, 1832-1884. Details of how to join the discussion are available here, or by contacting seminar@histparl.ac.uk. … Continue reading Portraits, Plates and Pigs: Representations of National Leaders within the Material Culture of Scottish Radical Procession 1832-1884

‘London’s Latest Ordeal’: the Blitz and rebuilding of the House of Commons Chamber

On the evening of the 10/11 May 1941 the House of Commons Chamber was destroyed during the Blitz. In today’s blog, 80 years on, our Public Engagement Assistant Connie Jeffery explores the event and how Parliament rebuilt and recovered from the destruction… Like much of the United Kingdom’s home front, Westminster was no stranger to the effects of the Second World War. Parliament’s recognisable home … Continue reading ‘London’s Latest Ordeal’: the Blitz and rebuilding of the House of Commons Chamber

The First British Royal Consort: Prince George of Denmark, duke of Cumberland

In the latest post for the Georgian Lords, Dr Charles Littleton considers the career of Prince George of Denmark, consort of Queen Anne, who proved an important support for one of Britain’s unfairly underrated sovereigns. The recent tributes to HRH Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh, have emphasized that, at 69 years, he was the longest-serving royal consort in British history, with an active life of … Continue reading The First British Royal Consort: Prince George of Denmark, duke of Cumberland

The hunting down of Queen Margaret: the battle of Tewkesbury 4 May 1471

Today we mark the anniversary of another key battle within the Wars of the Roses: the battle of Tewkesbury. As Edward IV’s forces sought to build on their earlier victory at the battle of Barnet, attention turned to Margaret of Anjou, as Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project explains… The most striking facet of the campaign that saw Edward IV win victories at … Continue reading The hunting down of Queen Margaret: the battle of Tewkesbury 4 May 1471