Dr Kathryn Rix

Current Research

Assistant Editor Commons 1832-1868

History of Parliament Research

I joined the History of Parliament in 2009 after several years at Cambridge. I am the assistant editor of the House of Commons, 1832-1945 project. We are currently working on the period 1832-1868, for which I’m researching biographies of MPs and constituencies in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Suffolk.

Research and Publications

I have a long-standing interest in the development of party organisation, changes in electoral culture, the interactions between the local and national dimensions of electoral politics, and legislative attempts to tackle electoral corruption. More recently I have begun working on parliamentary speech-making, the reporting of parliamentary proceedings and parliamentary architecture.

I was a member of the project board for the Vote 100 project which organised a major exhibition in Westminster Hall to mark the 100th anniversary of partial female enfranchisement in 2018.

My publications include:

- 'The "most difficult" subject for legislation: parliament and electoral corruption in the nineteenth century', in The many lives of corruption. The reform of public life in modern Britain c. 1750-1950, ed. I. Cawood and T. Crook (Manchester University Press, 2022), 156-76

- 'One of the most effective and welcome workers: Bertha Bowness Fischer, pioneering political organiser', Journal of Liberal History, 112 (2021), 12-19

- 'Foulkes [nee Fischer], Bertha Bowness (1875-1920)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2019)

'- 'The backbone of the party: Conservative agents, 1880-1910', Conservative History Journal, 2:7 (2019)

- Contributor to Voice and Vote: Celebrating 100 Years of Votes for Women, ed. Mari Takayanagi, Melanie Unwin and Paul Seaward (2018)

- ‘Who should have the vote? What electoral rights did Britons have in the century before 1918?’, History Today, Aug. 2018, pp. 24-35 [co-authored with Philip Salmon]

- ‘The Second Reform Act and the problem of electoral corruption’, Parliamentary History, 36:1 (2017), 64-81

- Parties, agents and electoral culture in England, 1880-1910 (Boydell and Brewer, 2016)

- ‘ “Whatever passed in Parliament ought to be communicated to the public”: reporting the proceedings of the Reformed Commons, 1833-1850’, Parliamentary History, 33:3 (2014), 453-74

- ‘Professionalisation and political culture. Party agents, 1880-1914’, Journal of Liberal History, 84 (2014), 18-25

- ‘By-elections and the modernisation of party organisation, 1867-1914’, in By-elections in British Politics, 1832-1914, ed. T. Otte and P. Readman (Boydell and Brewer, 2013)

-- ‘“The elimination of corrupt practices in British elections”? Reassessing the impact of the 1883 Corrupt Practices Act’, English Historical Review, CXXIII (2008), 65-97

- ‘Les agents de circonscription en Grande-Bretagne (1880-1914): la professionalisation d’un rôle politique’, Politix, special edition on ‘La fabrique des partis en Grande-Bretagne’, 21:81 (2008), 41-60

- ‘Hidden workers of the party. The professional Liberal agents, 1885-1910’, Journal of Liberal History, 52 (2006), 4-13

- ‘“Go out into the highways and the hedges”: the diary of Michael Sykes, Conservative political lecturer, 1895 and 1907-8’, Parliamentary History, 20:2 (2001), 209-31