A tribute to John M. H. Lee

In the fifth blog of this sombre series that pays tribute to interviewees from our Oral History Project, Emma Peplow looks back on the life and career of John Lee, Labour MP for Reading (1966-70) and Birmingham Handsworth (Feb 1974-79), who we interviewed in 2013… John Lee was born in Bagshot, Surrey. His comfortable background (his father worked in the City) might be a surprise … Continue reading A tribute to John M. H. Lee

‘Going into the country’: leave, holidays and political intrigue in the 1640s

As the easing of lockdown encourages many of us to seize opportunities to go on holiday, and especially take ‘staycations’, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of the Commons 1640-1660 section, looks at the positive and (arguably) negative uses to which civil war MPs put their leave… The widespread perception that the Parliaments of the mid-seventeenth century cut down on holidays is not inaccurate. As has … Continue reading ‘Going into the country’: leave, holidays and political intrigue in the 1640s

The royal scandal that helped change British politics: the 1820 Queen Caroline affair

On 5 June 1820 Caroline of Brunswick returned to England to take her place as Queen Consort to George IV. But the breakdown in the couple’s relationship would become a matter of parliamentary and national importance. This blog from Dr Philip Salmon, editor of our Commons 1832-68 project, explores the impact of the Queen Caroline Affair on British politics. Two hundred years ago the Prince … Continue reading The royal scandal that helped change British politics: the 1820 Queen Caroline affair

Pride of place: chief ministers and their houses in early modern England

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent convalescence at Chequers, his official rural retreat, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1558-1603 project considers a time when senior government figures were expected to possess their own country houses… It’s almost a hundred years since Arthur Lee, Viscount Lee presented Chequers, his Buckinghamshire country seat, to the nation for the use of future prime ministers. This Tudor mansion, … Continue reading Pride of place: chief ministers and their houses in early modern England

Children and Parliament in Medieval England

Continuing the theme of children and Parliament following Helen Sunderland’s blog about schoolgirls’ visits to the House of Parliament, 1880-1918 from earlier this week, senior research fellow for our Commons 1461-1504 project, Dr Simon Payling, explores the relationship between children and Parliament in the later middle ages… It is not surprising that children, whether as individuals or a group, appear very rarely in the records … Continue reading Children and Parliament in Medieval England

Early modern Parliament and Coffee

The History of Parliament team is very fond of a cup of coffee to help power through a day of research, particularly when trying to stay focused working from home! Coffee has a long and interesting place within parliamentary history as Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our House of Lords 1715-90 project, explores… On 12 March 1739 Lord Delawarr reported from a committee tasked with … Continue reading Early modern Parliament and Coffee

Schoolgirls’ visits to the Houses of Parliament, 1880-1918

Ahead of Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Helen Sunderland, a PhD candidate at Corpus Christi, Cambridge. She will be responding to your questions about her research on Twitter between 2pm and 3pm on 28 April 2020. The virtual seminar will be hosted by the History of Parliament Twitter account @histparl. To submit questions for Helen please contact @histparl on Twitter … Continue reading Schoolgirls’ visits to the Houses of Parliament, 1880-1918

‘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

Voices from the Oral History Project – Chris Smith

Unusually for a profile of one of our Oral History Project interviewees, Chris Smith has not recently passed away! Yet as the first sitting MP who chose to publicly come out, his is a fascinating interview to focus on this LGBT history month. Dr Emma Peplow, our Oral History Project lead, explores his parliamentary career… Chris Smith, Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury 1983-2005, … Continue reading Voices from the Oral History Project – Chris Smith

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