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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

We are delighted to welcome the publication of Alasdair Hawkyard’s volume in the Parliamentary History Texts and Studies series: The House of Commons 1509-1558: Personnel, Procedure, Precedent and Change. Research for the volume was funded by the History of Parliament Trust, and the volume is more generally based closely on the research in the 1509-1558 volumes of the History of Parliament edited by S.T. Bindoff and published in 1983. Those volumes were published without an introductory survey, as had been the other volumes in the series, and so Alasdair’s book will serve as that survey. It studies in detail the process of elections, the members, organisation and procedures of Parliament in the early Tudor period, and includes a number of appendices which provide some important updates to the information published in the Bindoff volumes. It will be a major contribution to the study of the early Tudor Parliaments.

Parliaments and Popular Sovereignty: Political Representation in the British world, 1640-1886

The People’s History Museum, Manchester; The History of Parliament; and Durham University are collaborating to host a conference on Parliaments and Popular Sovereignty on 17-18 November 2017.

The 150th anniversary of the 1867 Reform Act, which made important strides towards the inclusion of working people amongst the electorate, is an occasion for wider reflection on the claims for – and of – parliaments to be truly representative of the people. We wish to facilitate discussion across the traditional boundaries of early modern and modern history and to include the Irish parliament and legislatures of British colonies – as well as those excluded from them – alongside the houses of parliament in Westminster.

The Call for Papers is now open, you can see it here. Final date for paper submissions is 25 April 2017.

For more details about the conference, please visit the conference website at parliamentsandpopularsovereigntyconference.wordpress.com/

The conference is generously supported by the Royal Historical Society, History of Parliament Trust, Durham University Department of History & the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies.

A Century of Women MPs Conference: London, 6-7 September 2018

November 2018 marks one hundred years since the passage of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act. This Act together with the Representation of the People Act, passed early in the same year enabled women to participate in the December 1918 election as both voters and candidates for the first time. Constance Markievicz was elected, but did not sit, and so Nancy Astor, elected at a by-election the following year, became the first woman sitting MP. ‘A Century of Women MPs’ is a major international conference, hosted in London by Parliament’s Vote 100 project, the History of Parliament Trust and the University of Westminster, which will explore the experiences, contributions and achievements of women MPs, the challenges they faced, and debates and issues around gender and representation. The conference will include contributions from previous and current women MPs and from scholars from a variety of disciplines working in the field. It will be of interest to politicians, policymakers, women’s organisations and those working in disciplines such as history, politics and sociology.

More information and the call for papers will be available later in 2017. In the meantime, please save the conference dates: 6-7 September 2018. We look forward to seeing you there.

The History of Parliament’s 12th annual lecture will take place on the evening of Wednesday, 7th December 2016 at Portcullis House, Westminster. Professor the Lord Morgan FBA will mark the anniversary of the crisis that led to David Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister with his lecture: ‘7 December 1916: Asquith, Lloyd George and the crisis of Liberalism’.

Professor Morgan has written biographies of Lloyd George, Keir Hardie, James Callaghan, and Michael Foot, and many other works on contemporary British political history, including Labour in Power 1945-1951, The People's Peace, and Ages of Reform. His Oxford Illustrated History of Britain has sold over 750,000 copies. He is a trustee of the History of Parliament Trust.

The lecture is free and open to the public but you will need a ticket to do so. If you would like to attend this lecture, please sign up on the Eventbrite page.

Henry Bennet, earl of Arlington, was one of the foremost figures at the court of Charles II. Rising from being the second son of a Middlesex gentleman to secretary of state, lord chamberlain and a member of the House of Lords, Arlington’s career embraced diplomacy, parliamentary politics and patronage of the arts. In spite of this he is perhaps the least well known member of the infamous CABAL. Now, just over a hundred years since the publication of the principal study of Arlington’s life, a new conference organized by Dr Coleman Dennehy and Dr Robin Eagles will seek to reappraise his importance.

The conference will take place at University College London on Saturday 19 November 2016. The conference programme and details on how to register are now available to download here.

For more details email Dr Robin Eagles (reagles@histparl.ac.uk) or Dr Coleman Dennehy (coleman.dennehy@ucd.ie)

This Parliament Week, 14-20 November 2016, the History of Parliament will bring you two virtual events to help you explore Parliament’s history.

Throughout the week we’ll be blogging on ‘unlikely parliamentarians’ – the men and women across history who became parliamentarians only unexpectedly. These blogs will feature some of the History of Parliament’s latest research and cover the 15th century to the present day.

Follow us on https://thehistoryofparliament.wordpress.com/ or find us on twitter (@HistParl) to read these blogs.  

And: on Tuesday 15th November, 4-5pm, a panel of our experts will gather to answer your questions on parliamentary history. They’ll do their best to answer every question you might want to know, for example:

‘Who was the longest serving parliamentarian?’

‘Why do the Commons shut the door on Black Rod during the Queen’s Speech?’

‘When did my town first become represented in Parliament?'

Join us on twitter @HistParl for the answers, and why not put your question to the experts now using #histparlQ&A

 

 

The Parliamentary History Essay Prize, worth £400, is offered in 2017 for the best essay submitted on an historical subject related to the history of parliaments and representative institutions in Britain, Ireland, and British colonial dependencies. The prize is restricted to early career researchers (individuals within eight years of the award of their PhD, or within six years of their first academic appointment, excluding any period of career break). The essay must be a work of original research, not already accepted for publication. The text should not exceed 8,000 words. The closing date for submissions is 15 Oct. 2017, and entries should be sent to the joint-editor, Professor David Hayton, at d.hayton@qub.ac.uk. The winning essay will be published in Parliamentary History.

Lord Cormack has decided to retire as chairman of the History of Parliament Trust, a position he has held since 2001, having been a Trustee since 1983. The Trustees have elected in his place Gordon Marsden MP, a Trustee and member of the Trust’s executive, who has been the Member of Parliament for Blackpool South since 1997.  Mr Marsden is the co-Chair of Parliament's All-Party Arts and Heritage Group and a former Editor of the magazine History Today.

He said 'it is a great privilege to chair the History of Parliament Trust as Patrick Cormack 's successor.  I am delighted to be taking over at a time when his huge contribution in the chair over the past fifteen years  has left us with the Trust far more prominent today both within Parliament and outside it. This has included presiding over three major publications, the initiation of our  extensive and expanding oral history project, the republication of our articles online and successful collaboration with outside bodies, both academic and in the media, including a highly successful publication for the 800th anniversary, in 2015, of Magna Carta.'

'This mirrors the expanding and ongoing engagement of Parliament and its other institutions with schools, education, the wider world and the general public which is taking place.  Communicating the scholarship and other activities of the Trust as broadly as possible is a crucial part of demonstrating the relevance and centrality of Parliament both to 21st century Britain and to democracy internationally'

I very much look forward  therefore  to helping develop that work , building on Patrick Cormack 's legacy , with the help and enthusiasm of  our Trustees, Editorial Board, and Director Paul Seaward all the staff and volunteers of the Trust and with all those working in Parliament on valuing its heritage and history'

The History of Parliament is publishing its first volumes covering the House of Lords.

The House of Lords, 1660-1715 is out on Tuesday, 5th July 2016. With 716 biographies of members of the House from the scandalous duke of Buckingham and the murderous Lord Mohun to the horseracing statesman Lord Godolphin, it’s the most comprehensive treatment of the institution at what may have been its most important period.

These volumes complement the History’s previously published work on The Commons, 1660-1690 and The Commons, 1690-1715, and with them we have a more complete and detailed picture of the personnel and work of Parliament in the late Stuart period than ever before. This publication will make it possible to explore remarkably closely not only the operation of the political world of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, but also its social, economic and cultural world.

To order your copy of the House of Lords 1660-1715, currently available at special introductory price, please visit Cambridge University Press.

To mark publication of The House of Lords 1660-1715, we are also offering our highly illustrated introduction to the period for only £15. Visit Boydell here and quote promotional code BB065 at check out.

For some tasters of the material uncovered, see our blog series on our findings, including the House of Lords and sports, families and duels.

The History of Parliament has a vacancy for an office manager. The successful candidate will manage our premises and office facilities and provide general administration services to support our research activities. The post is part time (0.6FTE) and for a fixed term of one year.

Further particulars and application form can be downloaded here in pdf format, or in word format.

Closing date for applications is Friday 1st July 2016.

It is now just over a century since the publication of Violet Barbour's still outstanding study of Charles II's minister, Henry Bennet, earl of Arlington. Since then, despite having been a commanding presence at the court of Charles II as secretary of state and latterly as lord chamberlain, a significant cultural patron and father-in-law to one of the king's illegitimate children, Arlington has been largely neglected by the historiography of the period. Somewhat lost in the murky world of the 'CABAL', and overshadowed by better-known figures such as the duke of Buckingham and earl of Shaftesbury, he has featured prominently only in a handful of publications.

In the last few years, though, Arlington has enjoyed something of a revival thanks in part to the work of Helen Jacobsen, and this conference aims to build on Jacobsen's work by extending the reappraisal of Arlington to the many areas in which he was important in the period. As a figure with close ties to Spain and the Low Countries as well as to England and Ireland, we would welcome proposals from scholars of both English, Irish and European history working in the area of Parliament, local politics, diplomacy, the court and cultural patronage.

It is expected that the conference will be held at UCL on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 November. Among the anticipated speakers are Alan Marshall (Bath Spa, author of Arlington's life in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography) and Anna Keay (Director of the Landmark Trust and author of The Magnificent Monarch: Charles II and the ceremonies of Power).

Please address proposals for 20-minute papers and/or panels to the organizers: Dr Robin Eagles (History of Parliament/UCL) and Dr Coleman Dennehy (UCD/UCL). The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2016.

Details are now available for The History of Parliament's dissertation competition 2016. The Trust will award a prize of £250 to the best undergraduate dissertation presented in 2016 on a subject relating to British or Irish parliamentary or political history before 1997. 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, who may ask for appropriate amendments).

We invite university history departments to enter one dissertation which they consider to qualify (we will not accept entries directly from the students themselves). The university departments should send an unbound copy of each dissertation being entered for the prize, together with a completed entry form (available to download here) 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 1 August 2016.

For any queries, please contact the competitions email at the History of Parliament: competitions@histparl.ac.uk

For information on 2014 and 2015’s winners, see our recent blogpost.

The details for both of our annual schools competitions are now available! For the twelfth year running we will run competitions for 11-14 year olds (Key Stage Three) and 16-18 year olds (A level students). This year, we have changed the dates of our KS3 competition, to allow schoolchildren to take part across two school years, and the competition is based on our website schools materials.

The winners of both competitions will receive prizes of book tokens or money, and will be invited to Westminster with members of their family and teachers for the presentation of their prizes.

Our Key Stage Three competition is based on our schools materials, and has two options, each based on one set of materials. Full details, extra resources and rules can be found here.

Option one: The Reformation. We are asking entrants, using the materials on our website and those found in their local area, to write a news story on the importance of one of the Kings or Queens to the Reformation.

Option two: Political Reform. We are asking entrants, using the materials on our website, to write a newspaper article either for or against one of the major reform acts (1832 Reform Act; 1867 Reform Act; 1872 Ballot Act).

The winners of the competition will receive a prize of book tokens, and be invited with their families and teachers to Westminster to receive their prize. The closing date for the competition this year is 1 December 2016, provided that students meet the criteria noted in the rules. This will allow entries from across two school years.

For full details on how to enter, competition rules, and for resources for students, click here.

Our Sixth Form competition is again an essay competition, with the prize awarded to the best essay on a subject of the candidate's own choice related to the parliamentary or political history of Britain and Ireland.
The winner will receive a cash prize and again be invited to Westminster to receive this. Again, the closing date is after the summer holidays to give students who have just finished their GCSEs and are preparing for their A Levels a chance to enter as well. The closing date is 30 September 2016.

For full details on competition rules and how to enter, click here.

Good luck to all the entrants!

The History of Parliament’s schools competition enters its twelfth year in 2016. The winners will receive prizes of book tokens, and will be invited to Westminster with members of their family and teachers for the presentation of their prizes.

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. Although candidates for essays covering the period before 1832 are encouraged to look at and use the material on the History of Parliament’s website it is not required that they should do so. Essays should be of not less than two thousand words and not more than four thousand words. Essays should be typed, or clearly hand-written, on one side of the paper only.

The closing date for this competition is 30 September 2016. Students who are currently studying for their GCSEs and planning to begin A level studies in 2016 are welcome to enter.

Competition rules:

1. The winner of the competition will receive a prize of £100. The winner will be invited to visit the Palace of Westminster with up to two other members of their family, and a member of the school’s staff for the presentation of the prizes (the History will pay reasonable travel/accommodation expenses for the student and accompanying members of his/her family: normally expenses will be limited to a maximum of £300, and we regret that we cannot pay the travel or accommodation expenses of any accompanying school staff). 

2. The competition is open to any student at a UK school or college, preparing to study or currently studying for AS or A2 levels (years 11, 12 and 13), who will not have passed his or her 19th birthday by 30th September 2016.

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

4. Essays should be of not less than two thousand words and not more than four thousand words. Essays should be typed, or clearly hand-written, on one side of the paper only

5. All entries must have securely attached to them a sheet of paper stating:

a) The candidate’s name
b) The candidate’s school and its address, with a telephone or email contact for the school, and email contact for the candidate, if they have left school.
c) The candidate’s age at 30 September 2016
d) 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.)

6. Entries should be sent to:

History of Parliament competition
18 Bloomsbury Square
LONDON WC1A 2NS

Or to the competition email account:

Competitions@histparl.ac.uk

(If sending entries by email, please send one email per individual entry)

7. Entries must be received by 30 September 2016.

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

9. For each competition there will be one winner, although the judges may make special commendations if they think fit.

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

The History of Parliament’s schools competition enters its twelfth year in 2016. The winners will receive prizes of book tokens, and will be invited to Westminster with members of their family and teachers for the presentation of their prizes.

This year, we have changed the dates of our Key Stage Three (KS3) competition, to allow schoolchildren to take part across two school years. The closing date for this year’s competition is 1 December 2016.   Those entering the competition must meet the criteria as noted below.

Our KS3 competition has two options, both based on our website’s schools section and teaching materials. These materials are specially adapted from our research and include schemes of works for teachers.

Option 1: The Reformation

There were no newspapers during the time of the Reformation, but imagine that there were. Entrants are asked to write a short newspaper report on the importance of one of the Kings or Queens to the period of religious change and the Reformation. They can also include information from their local area – perhaps including what happened to a local monastery or religious building. Students are advised to make use of our schools materials on the Reformation (with teachers’ guidance available here).

Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the English church, from Foxe's Book of Martyrs © The Trustees of the British Museum 1973 U 219This option has been taken from the ‘extended activities’ section of our Learning activities: guidance.

For more information about the Reformation, see our website materials. In particular, you can find out information about the Kings and Queens of this period, and their parliaments in our ‘Reformation: Parliaments’ section.

You can also find out more about your local area during this period on our website in the 1509-1558 constituencies and 1558-1603 constituencies sections (full website).

Image: Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the English church, from Foxe's Book of Martyrs © The Trustees of the British Museum 1973 U 219

 

Option 2: Political Reform

The resources include specially-written articles that explore how Britain changed from a country where political power was held by a few privileged people to one much more democratic – at least if you were a man! They include information on several of the important reform acts, such as the 1832 Reform Act (see Lesson 2: 1832 Reform Act) and the 1867 Reform Act and the 1872 Ballot Act (see Lesson 4: 1867 Reform Act & 1872 Ballot Act).

Entrants should choose one of these reform acts, and write a newspaper article about them either for a pro-Reform paper or an anti-Reform paper.

Image: A Victorian political cartoon

Information can be found throughout our Political Reform schools materials, but these articles should be particularly useful for the 1832 Reform Act:

1830-32 Parliaments
Lord John Russell
Sir Richard Vyvyan
Bristol
Birmingham

And the following for the 1867 Reform Act and the 1872 Ballot Act:

1865-68 Parliament
John Stuart Mill
John Bright
Marylebone
Pontefract

There are also specific teaching resources and lesson plans, including lessons focussing specifically on these reform acts, available for teachers here.

The closing date for the competition is 1 December 2016. Good luck!

Competition rules:

1. For individual entries, the winner of the competition will receive a prize of a book token for £75.  The winner will be invited to visit the Palace of Westminster with up to two other members of their family, and a member of the school staff, for the presentation of the prizes (the History will pay reasonable travel/accommodation expenses for the student and accompanying members of his/her family: normally expenses will be limited to a maximum of £300, and we regret that we cannot pay the travel or accommodat