The Secret Ballot: The Secret to Reducing Electoral Violence?

In July 1872, 150 years ago this month, the Ballot Act introduced the secret ballot to all UK parliamentary and local elections. Here guest blogger Dr Gary Hutchison, of the Causes and Consequences of Electoral Violence project, discusses how the secret ballot affected violence at elections. An Interactive Map of over 3,000 violent events, from individual assaults to riots, can be found on their website. … Continue reading The Secret Ballot: The Secret to Reducing Electoral Violence?

Ballot boxes, bills and unions: Harriet Grote (1792-1878) and the public campaign for the ballot, 1832-9

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the 1872 Ballot Act, which introduced secret voting at general elections in the UK. In this extended blog, Dr Martin Spychal, research fellow in our House of Commons 1832-68 project, explores the role of Harriet Grote (1792-1878) in the popular and parliamentary campaign for the ballot during the 1830s. On 18 July we will be marking the anniversary of the Ballot … Continue reading Ballot boxes, bills and unions: Harriet Grote (1792-1878) and the public campaign for the ballot, 1832-9

Four Scots Lords: One line in a Poem

Inspired by a reference in an early eighteenth-century poem, in the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley considers the interlinked careers of four Scots peers, who all sat in the House of Lords. The early eighteenth-century poem, Advice to a Painter, by Alexander Robertson of Struan contains a line grouping four Scots peers: Rothes, Ross, Buchan and Belhaven, who were all part … Continue reading Four Scots Lords: One line in a Poem

The Union in Peril: The British Government and the Scottish Question in the Shadow of the Oil Crisis, c. 1973-1975.

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Robbie Johnston of the University of Edinburgh. On 10 May 2022, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Robbie will be responding to your questions about his paper on Parliament and the Scottish question in the 1970s. Robbie’s full-length paper is available by signing up to his seminar and contacting seminar@histparl.ac.uk. Details of how to join the discussion are … Continue reading The Union in Peril: The British Government and the Scottish Question in the Shadow of the Oil Crisis, c. 1973-1975.

Local polls and national politics: a 19th century perspective

As much of the UK prepares to vote in local elections this week, in this blog (adapted from our Victorian Commons site), Dr Philip Salmon discusses the origins of 19th century council elections and how they quickly became guides to national polls. As barometers of political opinion, local elections have long had a special place in British politics, offering useful (though not necessarily accurate) guides … Continue reading Local polls and national politics: a 19th century perspective

The true premier? Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland

300 years ago, on 19 April 1722, Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland, Walpole’s rival for the premiership, died following his stakhanovite efforts during that year’s general election. Dr Robin Eagles reconsiders Sunderland’s legacy and his claim to have been George I’s first premier. Sunderland had been under enormous pressure for well over two years before, having been caught up in the South Sea Bubble, … Continue reading The true premier? Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland

Female Dukes

In the latest post for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley considers the cases of peerages held by women in the 18th century, and the way in which they were able to exercise political influence even though denied a seat in Parliament. In a note on page 4 of his biography of Winston Churchill, published in 2001, Roy Jenkins allows himself a somewhat waspish comment … Continue reading Female Dukes

‘Do you know where this miserable wretch lives?’: Challenging votes in Eighteenth-Century England

As the Government looks set to make the introduction of voter ID requirements a flagship policy for 2022, parallels can be drawn with the eighteenth-century electoral process. We welcome guest blogger, James Harris, post-doctoral research associate at the University of Newcastle, to tell us more. The requirement for every elector to justify their right to vote at the hustings was a routine part of Georgian … Continue reading ‘Do you know where this miserable wretch lives?’: Challenging votes in Eighteenth-Century England

Conference Report: Bath 250

On 29 and 30 September the opening of Bath’s historic (Upper) Assembly Rooms was marked with a conference over Zoom, followed by a live event in the Assembly Rooms where conference participants were able to experience a display of dances from the Ridotto, which had opened the Rooms precisely 250 years before in 1771. We welcome back one of the speakers, Jemima Hubberstey, a doctoral … Continue reading Conference Report: Bath 250

The power of the (silk) purse: electioneering in nineteenth-century Macclesfield

In today’s blog Dr Kathryn Rix, assistant editor of our House of Commons, 1832-1868 project, takes a local history look at the political representation of 19th century Macclesfield, where one particular industry made its presence known… One of the most significant aspects of the 1832 Reform Act was its redrawing of the electoral map, taking seats away from ‘rotten boroughs’ such as Dunwich and Old … Continue reading The power of the (silk) purse: electioneering in nineteenth-century Macclesfield