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

Queen Victoria and parliamentary ceremony

During her record-breaking 70 years of service, Queen Elizabeth II has become no stranger to parliamentary traditions like the State Opening of Parliament, and next weekend her milestone as the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee will be celebrated with four days of festivities. But Her Majesty the Queen’s predecessor as a female monarch, Queen Victoria, also witnessed many ceremonies during her own … Continue reading Queen Victoria and parliamentary ceremony

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

From ‘People’s Champions’ to ‘Tribunes of the People’: popular politicians in Parliament, c. 1810 to 1867

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Simon Morgan of Leeds Beckett University. On 22 February 2022, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Simon will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper on popular politicians and Parliament between 1810 and 1867. Details of how to join the discussion are available here, or by contacting seminar@histparl.ac.uk. … Continue reading From ‘People’s Champions’ to ‘Tribunes of the People’: popular politicians in Parliament, c. 1810 to 1867

‘So much dignity and efficiency’: John Evelyn Denison, Speaker of the House of Commons, 1857-72

The new year calls for a new blog series, so throughout 2022 we’re taking a closer look at some of the figures who held the post of ‘Speaker’. Today we hear from Dr Kathryn Rix, assistant editor of our Commons 1832-1868 project, who explores the career of J. E. Denison, Speaker of the House of Commons from 1857-72. On 8 April 1857 John Evelyn Denison … Continue reading ‘So much dignity and efficiency’: John Evelyn Denison, Speaker of the House of Commons, 1857-72

Gladstone and Ireland: A Financial Approach

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Douglas Kanter of Florida Atlantic University. On 7 December 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Douglas will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper on ‘Gladstone and Ireland: A Financial Approach’. Details of how to join the discussion are available here, or by contacting seminar@histparl.ac.uk. William Ewart … Continue reading Gladstone and Ireland: A Financial Approach

‘Restless, turbulent, and bold’: Radical MPs and the opening of the reformed Commons in 1833

MPs and peers returned to Westminster earlier this month after over a year of upheaval, disruption, and online chambers. In today’s blog Dr Stephen Ball from our Commons 1832-1868 project looks into another eagerly awaited return to Parliament; the first session following the 1832 Reform Act… When the reformed Parliament first met on Tuesday 29 January 1833 many people speculated about the way the reconfigured … Continue reading ‘Restless, turbulent, and bold’: Radical MPs and the opening of the reformed Commons in 1833

Victorian MPs and holidays

With the summer holiday season well under way, our blog today looks at how nineteenth-century MPs spent their vacations, and the role some of them played in the creation of Victorian seaside resorts. An earlier version of this post from Dr James Owen appeared on the Victorian Commons blog; it has been updated with additional material by the assistant editor of our House of Commons, … Continue reading Victorian MPs and holidays

‘Covent Garden was lit up by a lucid light’: an MP’s account of the fire at Her Majesty’s Theatre, 6 December 1867

In the first of our blog series on theatre and Parliament, Dr Martin Spychal, research fellow for our Commons 1832-1868 project, looks at an MP’s first-hand account of the fire that burnt down Her Majesty’s Theatre in December 1867… On Friday 6 December 1867, the Commons adjourned at 7 p.m. The Whig MP for Sutherlandshire, Lord Ronald Gower (1845-1916), took the opportunity to see The … Continue reading ‘Covent Garden was lit up by a lucid light’: an MP’s account of the fire at Her Majesty’s Theatre, 6 December 1867