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

‘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 ‘Glorious Twelfth’

Did you know that the twelfth of August was an important date in the Victorian and Edwardian political – and social – calendar? In today’s blog our director Dr Paul Seaward continues our look into the summer holidays of parliamentarians and the hobby with particular influence over Westminster’s summer timetable… No date was more firmly fixed in the diaries of Victorian and Edwardian politicians than … Continue reading The ‘Glorious Twelfth’

The shipping and the railway interests: Whitby’s electoral politics, 1832-1868

In today’s blog Dr Kathryn Rix, assistant editor of our Commons 1832-1868 project, continues our look at port constituencies for local history month. Here, she explores the electoral politics of Whitby after it was first granted the right to elect one MP in 1832… In July 1832 the ‘blues’ (Liberals) and ‘pinks’ (Conservatives) in the port of Whitby each held lavish celebrations to mark the … Continue reading The shipping and the railway interests: Whitby’s electoral politics, 1832-1868

Joseph Ablett and the treatment of mental illness in early Victorian Wales

Last week (10-16 May 2021) marked Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Today Dr Stephen Ball from our Commons 1832-1868 project looks into the career and legacy of Joseph Ablett (1773-1848), a wealthy cotton manufacturer and country squire. Although never technically an MP, Ablett was returned at a parliamentary election in 1826, and later made a significant contribution to the treatment of mental illness … Continue reading Joseph Ablett and the treatment of mental illness in early Victorian Wales

NEW PODCAST for LGBT+ History Month: Lord Ronald Gower (1845-1916)

Based on his recent blog series on The Victorian Commons, this LGBT+ History Month Dr Martin Spychal sat down (virtually) with our public engagement team to discuss his research on the queer MP Lord Ronald Gower. We’ve made our 30 minute conversation available for you below. Martin has been researching Lord Ronald Gower as part of the History of Parliament’s Commons 1832-68 project and been … Continue reading NEW PODCAST for LGBT+ History Month: Lord Ronald Gower (1845-1916)

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

‘The Second Reform Act of 1867: party interest or the road to democracy?’: A debate between Rt. Hon. The Lord Adonis and Kwasi Kwarteng MP

  Last Tuesday the History of Parliament hosted our annual lecture in Westminster – also our new Director, Dr Stephen Roberts’ first event. The event focused on the Second Reform Act of 1867 in the wake of its 150th anniversary in 2017. This year we approached proceedings differently to the traditional lectures of previous years, in that our chair of trustees, Gordon Marsden MP invited … Continue reading ‘The Second Reform Act of 1867: party interest or the road to democracy?’: A debate between Rt. Hon. The Lord Adonis and Kwasi Kwarteng MP

Election 2017: Interrupting by-elections

On the day that the Manchester Gorton by-election was due to take place, Dr Kathryn Rix of our Victorian Commons project looks at by-elections that never were, and MPs returned at by-elections who almost immediately faced a general election contest… Alongside the local government elections taking place across the country today, there should also have been a by-election to choose a successor to Sir Gerald … Continue reading Election 2017: Interrupting by-elections

Unlikely Parliamentarians 4: a view from the Victorian Commons

This week is Parliament Week, a programme of events and activities that connects people across the UK with Parliament and democracy. To mark it, every day this week we are publishing a blog on ‘unlikely parliamentarians’  – the men and women across history who became parliamentarians only unexpectedly. In our fourth blog of the series, Dr Philip Salmon, editor of the Victorian Commons, discusses some … Continue reading Unlikely Parliamentarians 4: a view from the Victorian Commons