The Princess Mother: Augusta, Princess of Wales, the power behind the throne?

Today, on International Women’s Day, Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, looks at the life of Augusta, Princess of Wales. As mother of the heir to the throne, Augusta had great political importance- but how did she use this to her advantage…? In March 1771 James Townsend spoke in the Commons of his concerns of secret influence behind the throne. He insisted … Continue reading The Princess Mother: Augusta, Princess of Wales, the power behind the throne?

‘The only place that can heighten my enjoyment of my friends’: The literary coterie at Wrest Park

In 1740, the duke of Kent unusually made his granddaughter, Jemima Campbell, the benefactor of his estate at Wrest Park on the condition that she married his choice of husband, Philip Yorke (later 2nd earl of Hardwicke). Despite being an arranged marriage, it was a highly successful union. Upon inheriting Wrest, Jemima, Philip and their friends went on to form their own literary group, ‘Wrestiana’, … Continue reading ‘The only place that can heighten my enjoyment of my friends’: The literary coterie at Wrest Park

Exhibition review: Georgian Delights: Life during the Reign of George IV exhibition review

Last week Senior Research Fellow on the House of Lords 1715-90 project, Dr Stuart Handley, headed off on a field trip to the University of Nottingham to view Manuscripts and Special Collections’ current exhibition about life during the reign of George IV. Here he reports on what you can expect from the exhibition… Georgian Delights: Life during the Reign of George IV (1820-1830) is the … Continue reading Exhibition review: Georgian Delights: Life during the Reign of George IV exhibition review

Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Edmund Burke and the Rockingham Whigs

Ahead of this evening’s IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, Dr Max Skjönsberg from the University of Liverpool revisits his paper from the previous session, discussing political philosopher and MP Edmund Burke’s alignment with the Whig party… Edmund Burke (1729/30-97) is the best-known proponent of party in parliamentary history and the history of political thought. In his Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Edmund Burke and the Rockingham Whigs

Stand and deliver: sex, scandal and the Beaufort divorce case

In the middle of the 18th century polite society was both shocked and entertained by the lurid details following on from the breakdown of the marriage of the 3rd duke and duchess of Beaufort. Dr Robin Eagles considers how the case first came to light and the effects it had on those caught up in it. In 1746 the artist Thomas Gainsborough married Margaret Burr, … Continue reading Stand and deliver: sex, scandal and the Beaufort divorce case

A Trojan horse in the House of Lords? The South Sea Company and the peerage

2020 marks the 300th anniversary of one of the most spectacular stock market crashes in British history when the South Sea Bubble burst. Dr Charles Littleton re-examines the way in which the scheme was guided through Parliament and the impact it had on some members of the House of Lords On 22 January 1720 the chancellor of the exchequer, John Aislabie, presented to the House … Continue reading A Trojan horse in the House of Lords? The South Sea Company and the peerage

“Windy music & heat in the House” The failure to reform the House of Lords in 1719

In the spring of 1719 the government introduced a measure for reforming the House of Lords. By its provisions the size of the peerage of Great Britain was to be frozen, while the Scots were to be allotted 25 hereditary peerages in place of the 16 elected ones they currently held. It failed but in the following session the same measure was brought back again. … Continue reading “Windy music & heat in the House” The failure to reform the House of Lords in 1719