Parliaments, Politics and People seminar – The ‘Gothic slum’: MPs and St Stephen’s Cloisters, 1852-2017

In May 2018, Dr Elizabeth Biggs and Dr Elizabeth Hallam Smith introduced the IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar to the early history of St Stephen’s cloister, Westminster, presenting recent findings from their research project (funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and conducted in association with the Houses of Parliament and the University of York). In June this year, we welcomed Elizabeth Hallam Smith back to … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People seminar – The ‘Gothic slum’: MPs and St Stephen’s Cloisters, 1852-2017

The House of Lords Outside Parliament Time, 1604-1629

Continuing our theme of alternative functions once served by the palace of Westminster, Dr Andrew Thrush of the Lords 1604-29 section considers activities at the southern end of the complex in the early seventeenth century… During the early modern period parliaments were neither regular nor particularly frequent but sat at the whim of the monarch. Consequently, for most of the time the old palace of … Continue reading The House of Lords Outside Parliament Time, 1604-1629

Top things to do in London: visiting the old palace of Westminster

With the Restoration and Renewal project in full swing in Westminster, offices are moving and buildings are being re-purposed to accommodate works, and the ever-changing jigsaw of scaffolding can be seen from street as well as inside the parliamentary estate. Here, at the History of Parliament Trust we thought it pertinent to explore the development of parliamentary buildings and their historic over the centuries uses … Continue reading Top things to do in London: visiting the old palace of Westminster

Alternative uses for the palace of Westminster: the early 17th-century picture

With the palace of Westminster requiring a major restoration programme, and some people suggesting that Parliament should permanently relocate to a new home, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-29 section considers some of the uses to which the old Palace was put 400 years ago… Since the 19th century, the palace of Westminster has been synonymous with Parliament – but that wasn’t always the … Continue reading Alternative uses for the palace of Westminster: the early 17th-century picture

Legislating for the United Kingdom’s four nations in the age of reform, 1830-1852

Ahead of tonight’s Parliaments, Politics and People seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, we hear from James Smith, a doctoral candidate at the University of York. He spoke at our previous session on 5 February about his research into a four nations history of Westminster. In 2003, Joanna Innes published her ground-breaking Neale lecture, ‘Legislating for the three kingdoms: how the Westminster parliament legislated for England, … Continue reading Legislating for the United Kingdom’s four nations in the age of reform, 1830-1852

‘The House divided’: the creation of a second division lobby for the Commons in 1836

The huge publicity given to recent parliamentary votes on Brexit has put the over-crowded division lobbies of the House of Commons in the spotlight as never before and prompted the introduction of proxy voting on a trial basis. While MPs now vote in two division lobbies, this has only been the case since 1836, as Dr. Kathryn Rix, Assistant Editor of our House of Commons, … Continue reading ‘The House divided’: the creation of a second division lobby for the Commons in 1836

Parliament in a portacabin: the routine maintenance of Westminster Hall in the Middle Ages

During the summer recess staff at Parliament take the opportunity to undertake repair work on the Palace. This is a practice that was undertaken throughout the ages, as Dr Hannes Kleineke, Senior Research Fellow on the Commons 1422-1504 section, discusses… Complaints over the length of the parliamentary summer recess (much like teachers’ summer holidays) are a time-honoured staple of the political commentariate struggling to fill … Continue reading Parliament in a portacabin: the routine maintenance of Westminster Hall in the Middle Ages