Using the past to help us to understand the future of the Palace of Westminster

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Alexandra Meakin of the University of Leeds. On 9 November 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., she will be responding to your questions about her pre-circulated paper on ‘Using the past to help us understand the future of the Palace of Westminster’. Details of how to join the discussion are available here, … Continue reading Using the past to help us to understand the future of the Palace of Westminster

Henry Dundas: A ‘great delayer’ of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

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 seminar@histparl.ac.uk. … Continue reading Henry Dundas: A ‘great delayer’ of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Portraits, Plates and Pigs: Representations of National Leaders within the Material Culture of Scottish Radical Procession 1832-1884

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Sonny Angus, of the University of Edinburgh. On 18 May 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Sonny will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper on the material culture of Scottish radical politics, 1832-1884. Details of how to join the discussion are available here, or by contacting seminar@histparl.ac.uk. … Continue reading Portraits, Plates and Pigs: Representations of National Leaders within the Material Culture of Scottish Radical Procession 1832-1884

Adapting the chambers of Parliament: from the galleries of the 18th-century Lords to the division lobbies of the 19th-century Commons

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Robin Eagles and Dr Kathryn Rix, of the History of Parliament. On 4 May 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., they will each be giving a 15 minute presentation, followed by a joint Q & A session, looking at adaptations to parliamentary architecture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Details … Continue reading Adapting the chambers of Parliament: from the galleries of the 18th-century Lords to the division lobbies of the 19th-century Commons

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

Powell’s Predecessors: The British Radical Right and Opposition to Commonwealth Immigration in Britain, 1952-1967

Ahead of Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Liam Liburd, at King’s College London. On 1 December 2020, between 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Liam will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper on the British Radical Right and opposition to Commonwealth immigration. Details on how to join the discussion are available here or by contacting seminar@histparl.ac.uk. On 20 April 1968, … Continue reading Powell’s Predecessors: The British Radical Right and Opposition to Commonwealth Immigration in Britain, 1952-1967

The Bonfire Night Coup: power politics at the Putney debates

In March we hosted the final Parliaments, Politics and People Seminar before lockdown forced the temporary closure of the Institute of Historical Research. Today Dr Sean Kelsey, senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham, looks back at his paper discussing the Putney Bonfire Night Coup of 1647. This paper revisits the circumstances surrounding the adjournment, and effective dissolution of the General Council, the representative … Continue reading The Bonfire Night Coup: power politics at the Putney debates

Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Jamaican legislature in the British Atlantic world, 1660 to 1840

Ahead of tonight’s Parliaments, Politics and People seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, we hear from Dr Aaron Graham, a Research Associate on the ERC Horizon Project ‘The European Fiscal-Military System, 1530-1870’ at the University of Oxford. He spoke at our previous session on 11 February about his study of the Jamaican legislature between 1660 to 1840… ‘Any person that shall inspect the minutes … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Jamaican legislature in the British Atlantic world, 1660 to 1840

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.

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.

 

Aerial view of the Palace of Westminster c. 1905
Parliamentary Archives PAR/4/24

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.

HS

Join us tonight for our first seminar of the new term: Sonia Tycko of Harvard University will speak on ‘The politics of impressment, 1639-41: a Gloucestershire microhistory’. Full details here.

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.”