When it is completed the House of Commons, 1832-68 project will provide biographies of over 2,500 MPs and studies of more than 400 constituencies in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, offering an unprecedented resource for those interested in the social, political and local history of Victorian Britain.
We are keen to provide researchers with access to our material as soon as possible, and so we have created a preview site, where biographies and constituencies are available in draft format. This is currently password-protected: if you are interested in obtaining access, please contact Dr. Philip Salmon.
This preview website is a work in progress, and feedback from users is very welcome in order to improve and refine it. As the project progresses, more functionality will be added to the pages, activating links (as seen on the right hand side of each page) to material such as an MP’s speeches, votes and committee service. The website hopes to offer gateways into the relevant digital collections and act as a hub for researchers working within a variety of fields.
Each biography provides key details on the MP’s background, including his family and education, and his career and interests before entering Parliament. The MP’s activities within the Commons are analysed, looking at votes, speeches and service on committees, together with his electioneering and other constituency involvement. Where possible, the biography will feature a portrait or photograph of the MP.
Each constituency article contains information on the constituency’s physical size, its boundaries (including a map) and its economic and social characteristics. The main article analyses the nine general elections which took place between 1832 and 1868, together with any by-elections. It not only assesses the issues which candidates addressed on the hustings and the key factors influencing election outcomes, but also provides a broader account of the electoral culture of the constituency.
There are currently over 450 biographies and almost 40 constituency pieces ready to view. We will post updates on this blog to alert users when more pieces become available.