On 22nd September we, the History of Parliament Trust, came together with St James’s House to celebrate the publication of our latest collaboration: 300 Years of Leadership and Innovation. The publication, released to mark the 300th anniversary of Sir Robert Walpole becoming the first so-called Prime Minister, celebrates leadership across the full spectrum of British society: from Parliament and Crown to captains of industry and innovation. Volume … Continue reading The History of Parliament Trust and St James’s House: Publication Collaborations
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
Dr Paul Seaward is one of the editors of the “Voice & Vote guidebook” to accompany the UK Parliament Vote 100 project‘s landmark exhibition in Westminster Hall. In today’s blog he explains the contents of the book, who contributed to it and where you can get one… Last week we were delighted to celebrate with the curators of the wonderful Voice and Vote exhibition in Westminster … Continue reading Voice and Vote: Celebrating 100 Years of Votes for Women – a guidebook
Ahead of our final Parliaments, Politics and People seminar of the term this evening at the IHR, here’s the blog from our previous session from Elizabeth Biggs of the University of York and Liz Hallam Smith of the University of York and the Houses of Parliament. Their paper discussed the changing identity and uses of St Stephen’s Cloisters… Space within the Houses of Parliament has … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People seminar – St Stephen’s Cloisters: Politics, Patronage and Space
Rebekah Moore is currently completing a PhD (Institute of Historical Research/History of Parliament) on the temporary Houses of Parliament and the new Palace of Westminster, 1830-1860. In this guest blog, she draws some parallels between the current proposals for Restoration and Renewal at Westminster and events in the nineteenth century. On 31 January 2018, the House of Commons approved plans for the restoration and renewal … Continue reading Symbolising political change: space and the temporary House of Commons
The UK is celebrating the centenary of the passing of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which allowed some women to vote for the first time. This has enlivened a debate relating to the posthumous pardon of Suffragettes convicted of offences during the campaign for ‘Votes for Women’. The History of Parliament’s Director and editor of the Commons 1640-1660 section, Dr Stephen Roberts explains … Continue reading The importance of royal pardons in Restoration England.
Today Philip Baker, former Research Fellow of the History of Parliament and Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, explains the background to and completion of a History of Parliament project for which he was Editor. This new online resource provides access to primary source material relating to the House of Commons during the Parliament of 1624… 394 years ago today, what was to be the final Parliament of … Continue reading 1624 Proceedings: The House of Commons
This is the second in our blog series, women and parliament in this, the centenary year of the Representation of the People Act 1918. Here at the History of Parliament we are closely involved in celebrations, commemorations and projects relating to this anniversary. So today, on the actual anniversary that this Act became law it seemed pertinent to honour its passage. To that end, our … Continue reading The Representation of the People Act, 1918: A radical reform measure bill
At the ‘Parliaments, Politics and People’ Seminar on 7 November 2017 Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt (University of Kent) spoke on ‘The challenges of designing the House of Lords’ nineteenth-century ventilation system – A study of a political design process, 1840-47.’ Here he gives us an overview of his paper…
The earliest set of architectural drawings for the House of Lords were produced in Charles Barry’s office between 1836 and 1839. Starting in 1840, however, the plans had to be significantly modified to accommodate a new scheme for ventilation and climate control proposed by the physician David Boswell Reid. As the requirements of this system had not been anticipated in the earlier stages Barry’s team had to adapt their existing architectural plans. This was a complex, often challenging, process that led to serious delays. The delays were not the result of the immediate technical difficulties alone. The challenges of designing a ventilation system were further accentuated by the difficulties with successfully integrating the specialist skills and knowledge of a doctor within a process involving a large team of engineers, architects and draughtsman. Numerous studies have attributed the delays to insufficient cooperation between Barry and Reid and have dismissed the ventilation scheme as a failed endeavour. In his talk Dr. Schoenefeldt challenged this claim by retracing the evolution of their working relationship and its impact on the final design for the House of Lords, completed in 1847.
Combining the study of archival material, (e.g. original letters, drawings, sketches and diaries) with detailed building surveys inside the House of Lords, his research has allowed him to reconstruct the House of Lords’s original ventilation system and to uncover the extent of Barry and Reid’s respective contributions to its development. The original letters reveal that the pressure to reduce the risk of further delays, drove Barry and the Commissioners of Woods and Forests to trial new, more collaborative modes of working. These trials were based on the belief that Reid’s relative inexperience with engineering and architectural design could be compensated through a closer partnership between him and Barry’s team. Members of the House of Lords were also directly involved in the process of resolving the problems. The impact of Reid’s involvement on the design process became the subject of extensive reviews, conducted by several Select Committees and independent expert panels appointed by the Lords between 1843 and 1846. Neither the nature of the practical design challenges of incorporating the system within the architectural plans nor the role of Barry’s team in assisting in its development, have been investigated by historians in any depth before. This, however, is critical to fully understand the inherently political nature of the design process.
The talk is based on research conducted in conjunction with his current project within the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme, which is entitled ‘Between Heritage and Sustainability – Restoring the Palace of Westminster’s nineteenth-.century ventilation system‘ and is funded through a grant from the AHRC. Henrik’s recent publications include ‘ The Lost (First) Chamber of the House of Commons’, AA files, 72 (June 2016), pp. 161-173.
Continue reading “Parliaments, Politics and People: Henrik Schoenefeldt, The challenges of designing the House of Lords’ nineteenth-century ventilation system – A study of a political design process, 1840-47.”
Last Tuesday the History of Parliament hosted our annual lecture in Westminster – also our new Director, Dr Stephen Roberts’ first event. The event focused on the Second Reform Act of 1867 in the wake of its 150th anniversary in 2017. This year we approached proceedings differently to the traditional lectures of previous years, in that our chair of trustees, Gordon Marsden MP invited … Continue reading ‘The Second Reform Act of 1867: party interest or the road to democracy?’: A debate between Rt. Hon. The Lord Adonis and Kwasi Kwarteng MP