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News and Events

See below for our latest news, events and publications.

You can also:

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- Read our History of Parliament blog, the Victorian Commons blog and our Director’s blog.

- See the current programme of our 'Parliaments, Politics and People' Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research

On 18 May 2021 the IHR Parliament, Politics and People seminar will be a hosting a virtual seminar via Zoom with Sonny Angus (Edinburgh University). Sonny will be answering questions on his paper ‘Portraits, Plates and Pigs: Representations of National Leaders Within the Material Culture of Scottish Radical Procession 1832-1884’. Sonny will provide a brief summary of his paper before a question and answer session. You can access Sonny’s paper via the links below.

 

To receive Zoom details for the seminar you will need to sign up via the IHR event page (press ‘Book Now’)

 

You can read Sonny’s paper in PDF format (right click ‘save file as’)

 

The seminar will take place on Zoom at 17:15 on 18 May 2021. We acknowledge that work commitments, caring responsibilities and time zones may make attendance at the seminar difficult. If you find that you can only attend part of the session, please contact the convenors and we will do our best to prioritise your involvement. Likewise, if you find that you are unable to attend you can submit a question to seminar@histparl.ac.uk and the convenors will put you in touch with the speaker.

We’re delighted to announce that Dr Stephen Roberts FSA FRHistS FLSW, Director Emeritus of History of Parliament Trust, is among the new entrants to the Learned Society of Wales’ Fellowship. 

 

He joins 44 other new Fellows, all of whom share a link with Wales, its universities or intellectual life and are drawn from all specialisms. 

A full list of the new Fellows can be downloaded hereThey demonstrate the ongoing excellence of Welsh research, universities and intellectual life, all of which have shone during the extraordinary events of this pandemic-marked year. 

The new Fellows include academics from Welsh, UK and overseas higher education institutions as well as individuals who a play a significant role in Welsh public life. Specialisms range from nanotechnology to jazz, parliamentary history to tumour biology and much in between. 

The Society’s President, Professor Hywel Thomas, said of the new intake: 

"I am delighted to welcome our new Fellows to the Learned Society of Wales. This past, extraordinary, year has shown the value of world-class research. There is a thirst for knowledge and expertise, in all fields, as we try to recover from the challenges of the pandemic. Our Fellows are at the forefront of that knowledge and expertise.

 “We have also elected a higher percentage of women Fellows than ever before, with 38%. There is more we need to do but I am also pleased we are making progress on our efforts to make the Society better reflect the diversity of Welsh life.”

Election to the Fellowship is public recognition of excellence and takes place following a rigorous examination of each nominee’s achievements in their relevant field. 

The Society’s Fellowship now numbers 595. Their combined expertise allows the Society to strengthen its contribution to Welsh public life, through its contributions to government policy development, public lectures and seminars and its expanding Wales Studies programme. 

The new Fellows will be formally admitted at the Society’s AGM which will be held on 19th May. 

THE HISTORY OF PARLIAMENT  DISSERTATION COMPETITION 2021

The History of Parliament Trust will award a prize of £250 to the best undergraduate dissertation presented in 2021 on a subject relating to British or Irish parliamentary or political history.

Each university History department is invited to enter one dissertation.

They should send a digital copy of the entry to Sammy Sturgess at ssturgess@histparl.ac.uk together with a completed entry form (see below), and an unbound copy of the dissertation to ‘History of Parliament Dissertation competition, 18 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NS’. Copies will not be returned.

The closing date for receipt of entries is 30 September 2021.

Parliamentary History has agreed to consider publication in the Journal for the winning dissertation.

The decision to publish or not will be at the discretion of the editor of Parliamentary History. They may ask for appropriate amendments if necessary. 

For any queries, please contact: ssturgess@histparl.ac.uk.

 For details about the History of Parliament Trust, please see our website, www.historyofparliamentonline.org.

Click here to download entry form.

The History of Parliament is running its essay competition for Sixth Form students during the summer term.

Entries are encouraged from Year 11, 12 and 13 students and the winner will receive £100.

The prize will be awarded for the best essay on a subject of the candidate's own choice related to the parliamentary or political history of Britain and Ireland.

The closing date for this competition is 30 July 2021.

Competition rules: 
The competition is open to any student at a UK school or college, preparing to study or currently studying for A levels (years 11, 12 and 13).

Essays must be submitted by a school, and no school should submit more than four essays.

Essays should be of no less than 2000 words and not more than 4000 words. Essays should be typed.

Entries should be sent to our Public Engagement Assistant, Connie Jeffery at cjeffery@histparl.ac.uk

Please send one email per individual entry.

Entries must be received by 30 July 2021.

Judging will be by a panel appointed by the History of Parliament.  Their decision will be final, and no correspondence can be entered into.

There will be one winner, although the judges may make special commendations if they think fit.

Although candidates with essays covering the period before 1832 are encouraged to use the material on the History of Parliament’s website, it's not mandatory.

Students may also find the History of Parliament blog to assist them.

Please enclose the following details with each entry:
The candidate’s name

The candidate’s school and its address, with an email contact for the school, and email contact for the candidate, if they wish to be contacted personally.

The candidate’s age at 30 July 2021

A declaration signed by the teacher saying that the work is all the candidate’s own.

(We regret that entries cannot be individually acknowledged, and will not be returned after the competition.)

 For any queries, please contact us at cjeffery@histparl.ac.uk

'Decided on by men': oral histories from women MPs 

The Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art presents its 8th Annual International Women’s Day Lecture on Wednesday 17 March at 6pm via Microsoft Teams Live

Following an extended introduction by Diane Abbott MP, join Dr Emma Peplow and Dr Priscila Pivatto, from the History of Parliament Trust, as they discuss the women MPs who found themselves in 'a place decided on by men, for men'. 

Using interviews with 32 female MPs of different parties and backgrounds who sat between 1966 and 2001, this 75-minute event, will explore women's responses to parliament's masculine culture, and how they were able to pursue their political careers and interests in this environment. 

The History of Parliament Trust researches parliamentary politics, and parliamentarians, back to parliament's origins in the 13th century. In 2011 it began an Oral History Project, in collaboration with the British Library, interviewing former MPs about their lives and experiences. In August 2020 an introduction to the archive, The Political Lives of Postwar British MPs was published by the speakers.

 Dr Emma Peplow is Head of Development at the History of Parliament Trust and is currently responsible for the Oral History Project. 

 Dr Priscila Pivatto is Research Associate at the History of Parliament Trust and since 2011 has coordinated the Oral History Project. 

Book a free ticket here.

On 16 March 2021 the IHR Parliament, Politics and People seminar will be hosting a virtual seminar via Zoom with Dr Martin Spychal (History of Parliament). Martin will be answering questions on his paper ‘The geography of voting behaviour: towards a roll-call analysis of England’s reformed electoral map, 1832-68’. Martin will provide a brief summary of his paper before a question and answer session. You can access Martin’s paper via the links below.

 

To receive Zoom details for the seminar you will need to sign up via the IHR event page (press ‘Book Now’)

 

You can read Martin’s paper in PDF format (right click ‘save file as’)

 

The seminar will take place on Zoom at 17:15 on 16 March 2020. We acknowledge that work commitments, caring responsibilities and time zones may make attendance at the seminar difficult. If you find that you can only attend part of the session, please contact the convenors and we will do our best to prioritise your involvement. Likewise, if you find that you are unable to attend you can submit a question to seminar@histparl.ac.uk and the convenors will put you in touch with the speaker.

 

 

The History of Parliament is delighted to announce the publication of its latest volumes, the House of Lords, 1604-1629, edited by Andrew Thrush.

Based on detailed manuscript research in 120 archives, and containing over 280 biographies and a ground-breaking Institutional Survey, these volumes provide an unrivalled study of the early Stuart upper House.

The new volumes will be the second set in the History of Parliament’s study of the House of Lords, and their fourteenth published project.

 

For sales please refer to the publication page via our publisher, Cambridge University Press, here.

For media and general inquiries please contact website@histparl.ac.uk. 

On 2 March 2021 the IHR Parliament, Politics and People seminar will be a hosting a virtual seminar via Zoom with Dr Max Skjönsberg (University of Liverpool). Max will be discussing his new book The Persistence of Party: Ideas of Harmonious Discord in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge, 2021). Max will provide a brief summary of his book before a question and answer session. You can access the introduction of Max’s book via the links below. The seminar will be guest chaired by Professor David Hayton (Queen’s University, Belfast).

 

To receive Zoom details for the seminar you will need to sign up via the IHR event page (press ‘Book Now’)

 

You can read Max’s paper in PDF format (right click ‘save file as’)

 

The seminar will take place on Zoom at 17:15 on 2 March 2020. We acknowledge that work commitments, caring responsibilities and time zones may make attendance at the seminar difficult. If you find that you can only attend part of the session, please contact the convenors and we will do our best to prioritise your involvement. Likewise, if you find that you are unable to attend you can submit a question to seminar@histparl.ac.uk and the convenors will put you in touch with the speaker.

On 16 February 2021 the IHR Parliament, Politics and People seminar will be a hosting a virtual seminar via Zoom with Dr Matt Raven (University of Nottingham). Matt will be answering questions on his paper ‘Parliament and Trial by the ‘Peers of the Land’ in Henry of Lancaster's Revolt, 1328-29’. Matt will provide a brief summary of his paper before a question and answer session. You can access Matt’s paper via the links below.

 

To receive Zoom details for the seminar you will need to sign up via the IHR event page (press ‘Book Now’)

 

You can read Matt’s paper in PDF format or Word format (right click ‘save file as’)

 

The seminar will take place on Zoom at 17:15 on 16 February 2021. We acknowledge that work commitments, caring responsibilities and time zones may make attendance at the seminar difficult. If you find that you can only attend part of the session, please contact the convenors and we will do our best to prioritise your involvement. Likewise, if you find that you are unable to attend you can submit a question to seminar@histparl.ac.uk and the convenors will put you in touch with the speaker.

On 19 January 2021 the IHR Parliament, Politics and People seminar will be a hosting a virtual seminar via Zoom with Dr Matthew Roberts (Sheffield Hallam University). Matthew will be answering questions on his paper ‘Romantic Memory? Forgetting, Remembering and Feeling in the Chartist Pantheon of Heroes, c.1790–1840’. Matthew will provide a brief summary of his paper before a question and answer session. You can access Matthew’s paper via the links below.

 

To receive Zoom details for the seminar you will need to sign up via the IHR event page (press ‘Book Now’)

 

You can read Matthew’s paper in PDF format or Word format (Images in separate Word file) (right click ‘save file as’)

 

The seminar will take place on Zoom at 17:15 on 19 January 2020. We acknowledge that work commitments, caring responsibilities and time zones may make attendance at the seminar difficult. If you find that you can only attend part of the session, please contact the convenors and we will do our best to prioritise your involvement. Likewise, if you find that you are unable to attend you can submit a question to seminar@histparl.ac.uk and the convenors will put you in touch with the speaker.

On 1 December 2020 the IHR Parliament, Politics and People seminar will be a hosting a virtual seminar via Zoom with Dr Liam Liburd (King’s College London). Liam will be answering questions on his paper ‘Powell’s predecessors: the British radical right and opposition to Commonwealth immigration in Britain, 1952-1967’. Liam will provide a brief summary of his paper before a question and answer session. You can access Liam’s paper via the links below.

 

To receive Zoom details for the seminar you will need to sign up via the IHR event page (press ‘Book Now’)

 

You can read Liam’s paper in PDF format or Word format (right click ‘save file as’)

 

The seminar will take place on Zoom at 17:15 on 1 December 2020. If you require any further information, or are unable to attend and would like to submit a question for Liam please contact seminar@histparl.ac.uk

On 17 November 2020 the IHR Parliament, Politics and People seminar will be a hosting a virtual seminar via Zoom with Dr Emma Peplow and Dr Priscila Pivatto (History of Parliament Trust). Emma and Priscila will be answering questions on their paper ‘A prep school, 'Dracula's castle', or where they belonged? First impressions of Westminster from the History of Parliament's oral history project’. Emma and Priscila will provide a brief summary of their paper before a question and answer session. You can access Emma and Priscila’s paper and blog via the links below.

 

To receive Zoom details for the seminar you will need to sign up via the IHR event page (press ‘Book Now’)

 

You can read Emma and Priscila’s paper in PDF format or Word format (right click ‘save file as’)

 

You can read Emma and Priscila’s blog on the History of Parliament blog from 10 November 2020

 

The seminar will take place on Zoom at 17:15 on 17 November 2020. If you require any further information, or are unable to attend and would like to submit a question for Emma and Priscila please contact seminar@histparl.ac.uk

 

On 3 November 2020 the IHR Parliament, Politics and People seminar will be a hosting a virtual seminar via Zoom with Michael Taylor, the author of The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery (2020). Michael will be answering questions on his paper ‘The West India Interest and Colonial Slavery in Parliament, 1823-33’. Michael will provide a brief summary of his paper before a question and answer session. You can access Michael’s paper and blog via the links below.

 

To receive Zoom details for the seminar you will need to sign up via the IHR event page (press ‘Book Now’)

 

You can read Michael Taylor’s paper in PDF format or Word format (right click ‘save file as’)

 

You can read Michael Taylor’s blog on the History of Parliament blog from 27 October 2020

 

The seminar will take place on Zoom at 17:15 on 3 November 2020. If you require any further information, or are unable to attend and would like to submit a question for Michael please contact seminar@histparl.ac.uk

IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Zoom Q&A with Eilish Gregory

On 20 October 2020 the IHR Parliament, Politics and People seminar will be a hosting a virtual seminar via Zoom with Eilish Gregory (University of Reading). Eilish will be answering questions on her paper ‘Catholic Forfeitures during the English Revolution: Parliament and the Role of Sequestration Agents’. Eilish will provide a brief summary of her paper before a question and answer session. You can access Eilish’s paper and blog via the links below.

 

To receive Zoom details for the seminar you will need to sign up via the IHR event page (press ‘Book Now’)

 

You can read Eilish Gregory’s paper in PDF format or Word format (right click ‘save file as’)

 

You can read Eilish Gregory’s blog on the History of Parliament blog from 13 October 2020

The seminar will take place on Zoom at 17:15 on 20 October 2020. If you require any further information, or are unable to attend and would like to submit a question for Eilish please contact seminar@histparl.ac.uk

The German Historical Institute London and the History of Parliament Trust invite you to an online workshop on 30 October that will tackle the issues of law and consent in the study of medieval Britain. It brings together medievalists from different periods (Early to Late Middle Ages) and research contexts (England and Germany) to reach a more nuanced understanding of consent. The case studies will come from a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from Anglo-Saxon synods to the medieval parliament.

Register via Eventbrite here.

The provisional programme is available here.

Please direct all inquiries to Connie Jeffrey at the History of Parliament Trust: cjeffery@histparl.ac.uk

This is an online event that will take place via the Zoom video conferencing platform. Access details will be emailed to participants nearer to the event.

Join the History of Parliament and the British Library on Tuesday 27 October at 18:00 for an online event to celebrate the publication of 'The Political Lives of Postwar British MPs: an oral history of Parliament', a volume based on the Trust’s ground breaking oral history project.

The Political Lives of Postwar British MPs, authored by the project’s coordinators Dr Emma Peplow and Dr Priscila Pivatto, delves deeply into a unique archive of nearly 200 interviews with former MPs to immerse the reader in what political life at Westminster was really like between the 1950s and early 2000s.

During the event Emma and Priscila will be in conversation with Dr Rob Perks, Lead Curator of Oral History at the British Library about the book and the ongoing project, which is archived at the British Library Sounds Archive. Their conversation will be followed by an audience Q&A.

Register for free here.

Please direct any queries to Connie Jeffery.

The History of Parliament Trust is delighted to announce the publication of a volume based on the Trust’s ground breaking oral history project. The Political Lives of Postwar British MPs, authored by the project’s coordinators Dr Emma Peplow and Dr Priscila Pivatto, delves deeply into a unique archive of nearly 200 interviews with former MPs to immerse the reader in what political life at Westminster was really like between the 1950s and early 2000s.

Through extracts from their interviews, this book provides striking, vivid and sometimes poignant insights into the life stories of individual politicians, including their personal, as well as political experiences. They come from a range of backgrounds and had varied experiences of Westminster – from cabinet ministers to backbench rebels; those who sat for decades to those whose time as an MP was fleeting; the ‘old boys’ to union officials and the comparatively few women – this is a surprisingly diverse picture and one that challenges the public perception that politicians are all the same.

Some examples from the book:

I’ve spent most of my life I think, since my teenage years, knocking on doors. I do find it fascinating. When you knock on the door, the door opens and you’ve got a split sec¬ond judgement to make. Somebody appears in front of you: a little old lady, a young person, a burly man and you’ve got to sort of pitch your appeal rapidly, trying [to] make an instant impression. […] It’s the attempt to try and build this bridge between the political class, who are seen as something away and different and strange, all got two heads, very odd, and ordinary people who live ordinary lives, and try to bridge that gap. I thought it was absolutely crucial, certainly if you wanted to go on and get elected.
John Cartwright (Labour/SDP, October 1974–92)

I remember someone […] giving me the great lecture of: ‘This place now belongs to you. You’ve been anointed by the popular vote. You can go anywhere. Do anything.’ So that afternoon I opened a door that said ‘Members only’ and found myself facing a row of urinals.
Helene Hayman (Labour, October 1974–9)

Once you’ve been a whip, it never leaves you. [...] It was a very different kind of set-up, than it is now. It was all male; it had been operated as, certainly until the time I went there at least, as a pseudo-military operation. [...] The Wednesday morning meeting of the whips, where the silver salver and the silver tum¬blers came out, with the different whips’ names engraved on them. The champagne went round the table with the orange juice, and we drank the health to our former members and the prime minister [...] and then got on with business. It was tradition. [And] to be part of that, sitting around that table.
Timothy Kirkhope (Conservative, 1987–97)

The book explores how and why MPs became interested in politics, how they found their seat and fought election campaigns, what it felt like to speak in the chamber and balance the competing needs of party, constituency, and personal conscience (or ambition). In the process, readers will be given a rare glimpse into the spaces inhabited by MPs, political rivalries and friendships, and the rise and fall of careers. This book provides deep insight into the political lives of MPs in our age.   

The e-book is currently available from Bloomsbury Academic

Pre-order your version in print, available 20 August, here.

Reviews
“Thanks to the heroic efforts of the History of Parliament Trust, these oral histories have preserved in amber an authentic but otherwise fleeting portrait of Westminster for the ages. Anybody seeking to understand the interior life of Parliament – indeed how the United Kingdom is governed – will find this book indispensable. And thoroughly fascinating!” –  Russell Riley, Co-chair of the Presidential Oral History Program, University of Virginia's Miller Center, USA

“Every page of this fascinating book pulls into focus the human drama of electoral politics over the past half-century. Here are political lives being made and re-made, from childhood through to old age, and from the constituency campaign trail to the Parliamentary despatch box. Peplow and Pivatto are wise and sensitive guides to this unique repository. Their book will captivate anyone with a serious interest in the people who govern us.” –  Helen McCarthy, Lecturer in Modern British History, University of Cambridge, UK

Please direct press inquiries to: ssturgess@histparl.ac.uk

Professor Peter D.G. Thomas

The History is extremely sad to hear of the recent death of Peter D.G. Thomas (1930-2020), formerly professor of history at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, who contributed a large number of articles on Welsh MPs and constituencies for both the 1715-54 and 1754-90 House of Commons sections.

The last research student to be supervised by Sir Lewis Namier, Peter published extensively on eighteenth-century parliamentary history, commencing with his path-breaking 1971 study The House of Commons in the Eighteenth Century. He went on to produce a series of important works on the politics of the 1760s and '70s, including a biography of the prime minister Lord North and one of the most important studies of the radical politician John Wilkes: John Wilkes: A Friend to Liberty (1996).

Peter continued to research long after retiring from his university chair, and as recently as 2018 published in Parliamentary History an article throwing new light on the early career of Charles James Fox, which exemplified the virtues of thorough research and scrupulous scholarship that characterize all his historical writings.

The History of Parliament are delighted to announce the publication of its long anticipated volumes on the House of Commons, 1422-1461, edited by Linda Clark.

The volumes, covering the long reign of Henry VI, contain biographies of all of the 2,844 men who sat in the Commons during the period, and accounts of the political history of each of the 144 English constituencies. The new volumes will be the thirteenth set published by the History, now reaching a total of 53 individual volumes containing over 30 million words.

For further details about the set see our press release, here

For sales please refer to the publication page via our publisher, Cambridge University Press, here.

For media and general inquiries please contact website@histparl.ac.uk. 

On 23 June 2020 the IHR Parliament, Politics and People seminar will be a hosting a virtual seminar via Zoom with Mark Frankel (University of Birmingham). Mark will be answering questions on his paper and blog: ‘Thomas Edmund Harvey, Politician of Conscience’. The paper is part of Mark’s wider PhD research into Thomas Edmund Harvey (1875-1955). Mark will provide a brief summary of his paper before a question and answer session. You can access Mark’s paper and blog via the links below:

 

You can read Mark Frankel’s paper in PDF format or Word Format (right click ‘save file as’)

 

You can download an audio file of Mark reading his paper here (right click ‘save file as’)

 

You can read Mark Frankel’s blog on the History of Parliament blog from 16 June 2020

 

The virtual seminar will take place on Zoom at 17:15 on 23 June 2020. If you would like to attend please email Dr Martin Spychal for details: mspychal@histparl.ac.uk. If you are unable to attend but would like to submit a question for Mark please contact mspychal@histparl.ac.uk.