This might seem like a simple question but, as Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project explains, the answer is anything but straightforward… In 21st-century Britain, we take it for granted that we know what our parliamentary chambers look like. At Westminster, both the House of Commons and House of Lords are open to visitors, and parliamentary debates are recorded on television and illustrated … Continue reading What did the Elizabethan House of Lords look like?
On the evening of the 10/11 May 1941 the House of Commons Chamber was destroyed during the Blitz. In today’s blog, 80 years on, our Public Engagement Assistant Connie Jeffery explores the event and how Parliament rebuilt and recovered from the destruction… Like much of the United Kingdom’s home front, Westminster was no stranger to the effects of the Second World War. Parliament’s recognisable home … Continue reading ‘London’s Latest Ordeal’: the Blitz and rebuilding of the House of Commons Chamber
Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Robin Eagles and Dr Kathryn Rix, of the History of Parliament. On 4 May 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., they will each be giving a 15 minute presentation, followed by a joint Q & A session, looking at adaptations to parliamentary architecture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Details … Continue reading Adapting the chambers of Parliament: from the galleries of the 18th-century Lords to the division lobbies of the 19th-century Commons
In February 1742, Sir Robert Walpole, newly ennobled as earl of Orford quit 10 Downing Street for the last time. It was expected that his successor, the earl of Wilmington, would replace him there, but in the event it was the chancellor of the exchequer who took up residence instead. As part of our posts marking the 300th anniversary of Walpole becoming Prime Minister, Dr … Continue reading From Chicken House to Palace: 10 Downing Street in the 18th century
Today’s blog is from guest blogger Tom Chidwick. Tom is writing a history of the 1979 referendum in Scotland and here he discusses the vote, the Scotland Act and the considerations for the location of the Scottish Parliament… In its first ever referendum, on a snowy St David’s Day in 1979, Scotland went to the polls in arguably the most important ballot in the country’s … Continue reading ‘An Auld Sang with a New Tune’: Devolution to Scotland in the 1970s
Ahead of Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Emma Peplow & Priscila Pivatto, responsible for the History of Parliament Trust’s oral history project which is interviewing former MPs about their lives and experiences. They recently published The Political Lives of Postwar British MPs, an introduction and guide to the project. Emma & Priscila will be responding to your questions about … Continue reading First impressions of Westminster in the words of former MPs: back to school, into ‘Dracula’s castle’ or safe at home?
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
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
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
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