Thomas Burdet of Arrow, MP for Warwickshire in 1455, and the execution of George, duke of Clarence        

The execution of Thomas Burdet has long been linked to that of George, duke of Clarence a few months later. But is it possible that their downfalls were not connected at all? Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project evaluates the evidence… The execution for treason of Thomas Burdet, head of one of the principal gentry families of Warwickshire, on 19 May 1477 has … Continue reading Thomas Burdet of Arrow, MP for Warwickshire in 1455, and the execution of George, duke of Clarence        

Funding the defence of the realm (or not…)

As questions of defence spending continue to be discussed in the chambers of Westminster, here Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, looks into 15th century attempts to secure more money for this purpose, to varying degrees of success… The story of the rise of the English Parliament is inextricably interwoven with the Crown’s acceptance in the 13th century that it should not … Continue reading Funding the defence of the realm (or not…)

The world of parliament extends beyond the Commons and Lords

Since 2012 our team of volunteers have been interviewing former MPs about their lives and careers for the History of Parliament Oral History project, and often their memories reflect on current events both in Westminster and the wider world. Here, volunteer interviewer Peter Reilly discusses some of the key moments in the career of Michael Morris, Lord Naseby, who throughout his life had close links … Continue reading The world of parliament extends beyond the Commons and Lords

A month in politics: the fall of Protector Richard Cromwell, 1659

As we ponder the abrupt end to Boris Johnson’s premiership, Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-60 section offers a salutary reminder that the sudden collapse of a government is far from unprecedented in British history… Reporting on events at Whitehall palace on 6 April 1659, weekly newspaper The Publick Intelligencer depicted a harmonious outcome to a potentially dangerous political confrontation. That evening, ‘in one … Continue reading A month in politics: the fall of Protector Richard Cromwell, 1659

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

To attend or not to attend: state trials during an outbreak of smallpox

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Robin Eagles considers the dilemma facing some peers summoned to attend the trials of the Jacobite peers after Culloden as London faced an outbreak of smallpox in the summer of 1746. On 28 July 1746 the House of Lords convened in Westminster Hall for the trials of three Scots peers, who had been arrested following the … Continue reading To attend or not to attend: state trials during an outbreak of smallpox

‘Always great fun: particularly when there was a row going on’: memories of the 1922 Committee

Once again, the powerful backbench Conservative 1922 committee is back in the headlines. Here Dr Emma Peplow, head of our Oral History Project, shares some of former MPs’ memories of its workings and influence… Whilst the 1922 Committee comes to public attention only at times of political drama, for the former Conservative MPs interviewed for our oral history project, it was a central part of … Continue reading ‘Always great fun: particularly when there was a row going on’: memories of the 1922 Committee

New Project: The House of Lords 1640-1660

In exciting news for the History of Parliament, 2022 sees the winding down of our long-running House of Commons 1640-1660 project and with it the launch of a new section: the House of Lords 1640-1660. Here the section leader, Dr David Scott, introduces the project and the status of Peers in the mid-17th century… In April of this year the History of Parliament launched the … Continue reading New Project: The House of Lords 1640-1660

Before Big Ben there was Old Tom

As the restoration of the Palace of Westminster’s Elizabeth Tower reaches its final stages this summer, Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our House of Lords 1715-1790 project, takes a look at the clock tower that existed before ‘Big Ben’… The story of the at times fraught development of the clock tower of the palace of Westminster is well known. A late addition to Charles Barry’s … Continue reading Before Big Ben there was Old Tom