‘The doubly-noble prisoner’: The trial of Elizabeth Chudleigh, countess of Bristol, or duchess of Kingston?

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?

Early women MPs: Margaret Wintringham and Parliament

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

‘Decided on by men’: International Women’s Day lecture

On 17 March Dr Emma Peplow and Dr Priscila Pivatto gave the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art’s 8th annual International Woman’s Day lecture. Created by the committee to help address the need for more artwork of female MPs in Parliament’s collection, Emma and Priscila discussed women’s experiences in Parliament based on interviews in our Oral History Project. Here Dr Peplow reflects on the … Continue reading ‘Decided on by men’: International Women’s Day lecture

‘Southwark men, who are but traitors’: merchants, rioters, radicals and the ‘good old cause’ in the mid-seventeenth century

In the latest History of Parliament blog we return to our local history study of Southwark. Following our medieval look at the constituency, today Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of the Commons 1640-1660 project, explores the borough in the mid-seventeenth century. By 1640 there had been no decrease in the independent spirit and propensity to disorder which had made the borough of Southwark so troublesome … Continue reading ‘Southwark men, who are but traitors’: merchants, rioters, radicals and the ‘good old cause’ in the mid-seventeenth century

Women in early modern parliamentary politics

Over the last few weeks we have been marking Women’s History Month. Continuing the discussion of women’s parliamentary history, Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of the new House of Lords 1558-1603 project, has turned his attention to the relationship between women and politics in the early modern era. Despite being excluded from Parliament, women still found ways to be involved… During the early modern period women … Continue reading Women in early modern parliamentary politics

‘You’d better accept you’ll have to concentrate on domestic politics for now’ – gender bias in the post-war Commons

As Women’s History Month reaches a close, Dr Emma Peplow, lead coordinator of our Oral History Project, looks back through our interview archive to explore a theme often discussed by female interviewees: gender bias in the post-war House of Commons… For many of the former female MPs interviewed for our oral history project, their experiences in Parliament seem to be both as insiders and outsiders … Continue reading ‘You’d better accept you’ll have to concentrate on domestic politics for now’ – gender bias in the post-war Commons

The Princess Mother: Augusta, Princess of Wales, the power behind the throne?

Today, on International Women’s Day, Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, looks at the life of Augusta, Princess of Wales. As mother of the heir to the throne, Augusta had great political importance- but how did she use this to her advantage…? In March 1771 James Townsend spoke in the Commons of his concerns of secret influence behind the throne. He insisted … Continue reading The Princess Mother: Augusta, Princess of Wales, the power behind the throne?

‘Duely sensible of their obligation’: the role of women in Georgian election balls

With general elections back in the news, the Georgian Lords welcomes back Hillary Burlock for the second part of her series on the importance of dance and the participation of women in 18th-century electoral contests. Much of Georgian electioneering played out in the public, ‘masculine’ theatre of the hustings and city streets; yet the ballroom, too, was an intensely political arena. Politicians understood the political … Continue reading ‘Duely sensible of their obligation’: the role of women in Georgian election balls

A female politician? Lady Derby and mid-Victorian political life

Continuing our series on Women and Parliament, Dr. Jennifer Davey of the University of East Anglia looks at the influence of Mary, Countess of Derby (1824-1900) within the worlds of high politics and diplomacy. Lady Derby is the subject of her recent book, Mary, Countess of Derby, and the politics of Victorian Britain (OUP, 2019). In May 1893, The Spectator printed a long article reflecting … Continue reading A female politician? Lady Derby and mid-Victorian political life

‘She is an Outsider in Public Life’: women parliamentary candidates, 1918-1923

Ahead of tonight’s Parliaments, Politics and People seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, we hear from Lisa Berry-Waite, a Leverhulme-funded PhD candidate at the University of Exeter.  She spoke at our previous session on 28 May about her research into the parliamentary election campaigns of women candidates in Britain between 1918 and 1931. Her paper focused on the under-explored source of women’s parliamentary election … Continue reading ‘She is an Outsider in Public Life’: women parliamentary candidates, 1918-1923