The final year of the decade has been a busy one for the History of Parliament Trust. We’ve sent volumes to the publishers, been involved in regional and national engagement projects, started a YouTube channel and undergone many internal changes – here’s Sammy Sturgess with the highlights of 2019…
During the final quarter of 2019 we’ve seen some significant changes to staffing at the History of Parliament Trust. After submitting the House of Commons 1422-1461 to the Cambridge University Press, editor of the project and our longest serving member of staff, Dr. Linda Clark retired after 50 years of service. Linda, now Editor Emeritus at the History, continues to contribute to the field as Editor of Texts and Studies for Parliamentary History. The new phase of our medieval project began in October under the editorship of Dr. Hannes Kleineke. The publication of the Commons 1422-1461 will be closely followed by that of the House of Lords 1604-29 later in 2020, edited by Dr. Andrew Thrush.
Dr. Emma Peplow has been appointed as Head of Development, with a particular focus on delivering the History’s new website and developing our Oral History Project. The OHP’s previous coordinator and long-time History volunteer, Dr. Priscila Pivatto, will be taking a less active role in the project after moving to snowier climes (Geneva) this December. The pair have been preparing a book about the project that will be published by Bloomsbury Press in 2020. We are currently recruiting volunteer interviewers for the OHP from across the UK – see here for further information. Finally, we have welcomed Connie Jeffery to the team who will be assisting Sammy Sturgess in delivering our ever growing public engagement activities. Welcome Connie!
Plans and preparation to launch a new project in 2020 about the Elizabethan House of Lords are now underway. Keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for updates about this project and our other ongoing research: Commons 1640-60, Lords 1715-90, and Commons 1832-68.
During the summer the public engagement team and the Commons 1832-68 project were involved in various projects to commemorate the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre (check out our blog series). We collaborated with the Parliamentary Archives, the Speaker’s Committee on Works of Art, the Citizens Project and the People’s History Museum on the Parliament & Peterloo exhibition in Westminster Hall and free online course From Peterloo to the Pankhursts. You can sign up to the course here to discover more about protest, parliament and citizens’ rights. You may also have seen or heard editor of the Commons 1832-68 project, Dr. Philip Salmon, discussing Peterloo via a local or national news outlet. If you missed him, don’t worry – we created two short videos that summarise the massacre, its context, and aftermath. You’ll find them over on our new YouTube channel.
Our touring exhibition about History of Parliament Trust founder, Col. Josiah C. Wedgwood (funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Remembering Eleanor Rathbone Group) was in residence at the World of Wedgwood in Staffordshire from January to September of this year, before its final outing at the Wiener Holocaust Library, London in October. We also enjoyed other events and projects further afield. In May we went the Exeter to discuss Parliament and the Southwest, as well as heading to Plymouth to mark the centenary of the election of Nancy Astor, the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons, in 1919. Dr. Kathryn Rix wrote a blog for the Astor 100 project at the University of Reading and our collaboration with this project will continue into 2020 – watch this space.
Our blogging efforts have continued to grow with a new page launched in October to coincide with the new phase of the medieval project: the Commons in the Wars of the Roses. Additionally, we’ve attempted to offer some historical examples of topical events in Parliament during the political turbulence in recent months, such as the prorogation of Parliament. We are, however, always open to ideas for new blog themes. What would you like to know about parliamentary history? Please email ideas or suggestions to email@example.com. Don’t forget – you can keep updated on the progress of our resident British Academy/Wolfson Foundation research professor, Paul Seaward over on his blog page, Reformation to Referendum: Writing a New History of Parliament.
We’ve continued to enjoy a varied programme of papers for our IHR seminar, Parliaments, Politics and People this year, curated by Dr. Paul Hunneyball and his co-convenors, which included a collaboration with the History of Sexuality seminar when we heard from Director of the Centre for Queer History at Goldsmiths, Dr. Justin Bengry. Summaries of papers can be found here, and don’t forget to put next term’s sessions in your diary.
The public engagement team welcomed an undergraduate intern from Goldsmiths this year as part of our new and improved universities engagement programme. To that end, Dr. Martin Spychal delivered seminars on political history and biography to undergraduate students at the University of Westminster and UCL. We’ll be branching out to other universities in London and Birmingham (so far) in 2020. Moreover, an exciting new partnership with the Open University has been established in 2019 and applications are now open for a collaborative doctoral award to be co-supervised by Dr. Robin Eagles (closing date is 8 January 2020). The proposed PhD research will examine ‘The Black and Mixed Ethnicity Presence in British Politics, 1750-1850’.
Congratulations to our dissertation prize winner in the class of 2019, Sam Willis, for his essay ‘Reimagining Labour Party ‘Modernisation’ in an affluent suburb, c.1996-2001.’ Sam will be presented with his prize at a History of Parliament event in early 2020 and the competition will run again from April.
We’d like to thank our partner organisations, old and new, for their support throughout the year, particularly the Parliamentary Archives, the UK Parliament Speaker’s Committee on Works of Art, and the Citizens Project at Royal Holloway. We look forward to more exciting projects in 2020! And finally, thank you to you, our readers and website for your support and feedback. From all of us at the History of Parliament Trust, we hope you’re enjoying the festive period and Happy New Year.