Lord Ronald Gower (1845-1916): the social life of a queer MP at the time of the Second Reform Act

The Victorian Commons

In the second of his blog series on Lord Ronald Gower (1845-1916), Dr Martin Spychal explores Gower’s London social life during his first year in Parliament, including a brief summer romance with the son of the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

Albumen print of Ronald Gower by Camille Silvy (1865) CC NPG

One of the most privileged men in nineteenth-century Britain, Lord Ronald Gower (1845-1916), was returned to Parliament in May 1867, aged 21, for his family’s pocket county of Sutherland. As discussed in my first blog of this series, historians and literary critics have shown how Gower played an influential role in shaping British queer identities, utilising his position of privilege to navigate life as a queer man in late nineteenth-century Britain.

My research into the first two years of his parliamentary career for the History of Parliament’s Commons 1832-1868 project has revealed new insights into Gower’s life…

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