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

‘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

The geography of voting behaviour: towards a roll-call analysis of England’s reformed electoral map, 1832-68

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Martin Spychal, of the History of Parliament. On 16 March 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Martin will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper on the geography of voting behaviour in Parliament between 1832 and 1868. Details of how to join the discussion are available here, or by contacting  seminar@histparl.ac.uk. … Continue reading The geography of voting behaviour: towards a roll-call analysis of England’s reformed electoral map, 1832-68

A Highland canvass in a ‘pocket county’: Ronald Gower (1845-1916) and the 1867 Sutherland by-election

Continuing our series on Scotland, Dr Martin Spychal, research fellow for the House of Commons 1832-1868 project, uses Ronald Gower’s diaries to provide some rare insights into mid-Victorian electioneering in the ‘pocket county’ of Sutherland. If there was a History of Parliament award for ‘constituency most under the thumb of an aristocratic patron’, the Highland county of Sutherland would be a top contender. Following the … Continue reading A Highland canvass in a ‘pocket county’: Ronald Gower (1845-1916) and the 1867 Sutherland by-election

Oxfordshire Local History: Abingdon in the nineteenth century

This month’s local history focus has been Oxfordshire. In today’s blog Dr Philip Salmon, editor of the House of Commons 1832-1945 project, looks at the constituency of Abingdon, since 1974 within Oxfordshire, but historically part of the adjacent county of Berkshire. Abingdon was widely regarded as an easily managed ‘pocket’ or ‘nomination’ borough during the 19th century. For a while at least it certainly had … Continue reading Oxfordshire Local History: Abingdon in the nineteenth century

York: exploring the local history of a Victorian constituency

Alongside biographies of 2,591 MPs, our House of Commons 1832-68 project is also researching and writing articles on the 401 English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh constituencies in existence during this period. Following on from this month’s earlier local history post on York, this blog takes this constituency as an example to explain some of the key features of our constituency articles, and how they might … Continue reading York: exploring the local history of a Victorian constituency

Exploring parliamentary history through art

Today’s blog contains details of the Art UK online exhibitions that our researchers have curated during lockdown… The History of Parliament’s researchers have been trying out the Curations tool recently launched by Art UK, which enables anyone to create a digital exhibition from the artworks on its site. With art galleries and museums currently closed, it is an excellent way to visit their collections online. … Continue reading Exploring parliamentary history through art

‘The power of returning our members will henceforth be in our own hands’: parliamentary reform and its impact on Exeter, 1820-1868

Dr Martin Spychal, research fellow for the Commons 1832-68, uses polling and voter registration data to explore the 1832 Reform Act’s impact on elections in Exeter. Continue reading ‘The power of returning our members will henceforth be in our own hands’: parliamentary reform and its impact on Exeter, 1820-1868

Schools: competition prize day!

Last month we welcomed our 2016 Key Stage Three Schools competition winner to Westminster… Slightly later than we hoped, thanks to this year’s snap election, the HPT welcomed our KS3 competition winner, Layla Barwell, and her family to Parliament. Layla attends Dartford Grammar School for girls, and was 13 when she wrote her excellent competition entry. We asked students to write newspaper reports on either … Continue reading Schools: competition prize day!

Parliaments, Politics & People Seminar: Gary Hutchison, ‘‘A distant and Whiggish country’: The Conservative Party and Scottish elections, 1832–1847’

At our last ‘Parliaments, politics and people’ seminar, Gary Hutchison (University of Edinburgh – and former winner of the HPT’s undergraduate dissertation prize) spoke on his research into the Conservative Party and Scottish elections after 1832. Here he gives an overview of his paper… The Reform Act(s) of 1832 had far-reaching effects on the practical politics of elections, as well as the wider political culture … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics & People Seminar: Gary Hutchison, ‘‘A distant and Whiggish country’: The Conservative Party and Scottish elections, 1832–1847’