On 29 and 30 September the opening of Bath’s historic (Upper) Assembly Rooms was marked with a conference over Zoom, followed by a live event in the Assembly Rooms where conference participants were able to experience a display of dances from the Ridotto, which had opened the Rooms precisely 250 years before in 1771. We welcome back one of the speakers, Jemima Hubberstey, a doctoral … Continue reading Conference Report: Bath 250
Accusations of political sleaze are on the rise again, but the concept of government insiders profiting from the system is nothing new, as Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project explains… If the Committee on Standards in Public Life had existed 400 years ago, it would have needed a rather different remit. While Jacobean politicians periodically attacked corruption and venality in government, it was … Continue reading What price a peerage? John Roper and the Jacobean trade in titles and offices
The year 1776 is usually associated with the worsening crisis in the American colonies. Yet for one week in April the House of Lords, and the British public, turned their attention to Westminster Hall to concentrate on the sensational trial for bigamy of Elizabeth Chudleigh, the self-styled ‘duchess of Kingston’. Dr Charles Littleton examines the background to the sensational case. In 1743, at the age … Continue reading ‘The doubly-noble prisoner’: The trial of Elizabeth Chudleigh, countess of Bristol, or duchess of Kingston?
Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Stephen Mullen of the University of Glasgow. On 12 October 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Stephen will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper on Henry Dundas and the transatlantic slave trade. Details of how to join the discussion are available here, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. … Continue reading Henry Dundas: A ‘great delayer’ of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
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
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
On 23 September 1459 the battle of Blore Heath took place. In today’s blog, marking the anniversary of the battle, Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project looks into the events of the encounter, as the earl of Salisbury’s Yorkist forces faced up to those led by the Lancastrian Lord Audley. The battle of Blore Heath, two miles from Market Drayton, near the border … Continue reading ‘He knewe the slaightes, stratagems, and the pollecies of warlike affaires’: Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, and the battle of Blore Heath
In September 1921, Margaret Wintringham (1879-1955) was elected to the House of Commons as the first ever Liberal woman MP. Dr Mari Takayanagi, Senior Archivist at the Parliamentary Archives, discusses Wintringham, her election, and the issues she supported in Parliament. Margaret Wintringham was born in Keighley, Yorkshire in 1879. She was a teacher by background, and headmistress at a school in Grimsby before marrying Tom Wintringham, a timber merchant, in 1903. Wintringham was a suffragist, a non-militant supporter … Continue reading Early women MPs: Margaret Wintringham and Parliament
With refugee crises and immigration back in the news, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 section, considers how these issues impacted on the character of the House of Commons nearly 400 years ago… Business involving immigrants and refugees was not uncommon in mid-seventeenth century Parliaments. Petitions for naturalization, the trading rights of ‘stranger’ merchants, provision for destitute fugitives arriving in England and … Continue reading Immigrants and refugees at Westminster: the foreign ancestry of mid-17th century MPs
On 3 April 1721 Robert Walpole was appointed First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. This was not the first time that he had occupied these roles, however it was from this point that he is generally regarded as becoming the first ever ‘Prime Minister’. The title was initially bestowed upon Walpole as an insult, used to criticise Walpole’s improper rise to … Continue reading 300 Years of Leadership and Innovation: Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first ‘Prime Minister’ and the History of Parliament Online