Next week is an exciting one for us at HOP, and especially for www.historyofparliamentonline.org. Not only will we be publishing a series of specially commissioned articles for Parliament Week, we’re also releasing all the material from the volumes on the House of Commons in 1604-29 online for the first time.
We’re delighted to be one of many organisations around the country to be taking part in next week’s Parliament Week; an initiative coordinated by both the House of Commons and House of Lords that looks at the people, places and events that support democracy in the UK. The events are designed to inspire people to get involved in UK politics, from ‘Young People’s Question Time’ to suffragette mock trials at the Royal Courts of Justice. For more information, and to find out what’s going on where you are, visit www.parliamentweek.org.
At HOP, we’re celebrating Parliament Week with a series of articles for our website that will mark major events in parliamentary history on the dates they happened, from the Wars of the Roses to Jacobite conspiracies. For example, Thursday’s article will commemorate the formation of Earl Grey’s administration on the 22nd November 1830, best known for the ‘Great’ Reform Act of 1832. Dr Philip Salmon will explore the formation and composition of Grey’s ministry, which, from today’s view does not appear very democratic at all, especially considering that it is best remembered for putting Britain on the ‘road to democracy’.
Several of the articles will focus on the early 17th century, introducing some of the major themes of the newly-released House of Commons in 1604-29 volumes. Dr Andrew Thrush will mark Charles I’s birth on the 19th November 1600 with a study of his early relationship with parliament, and on Wednesday he will explore the parliamentary debates on the proposed Union with Scotland in 1606 (which are very different from the debates today!)
The 1604-29 materials contain biographies of each of the 1,782 men who sat in the Commons and surveys of the 259 constituencies they represented. Amongst the major biographies are key commons politicians of the period, such as Sir Edward Coke, the finest lawyer of his day with an arrogance to match his talents; men who went on to become famous during the Civil War, including Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell; and those who were more famous for their careers outside politics, such as the poet John Donne. For those of you who haven’t yet seen these volumes, they are a comprehensive and rich resource for one of the most important periods of British parliamentary history.