Monthly Archives: October 2012

‘Virtually a fourth class of passenger carriage’: the parliamentary train

With the pleasures and pitfalls of Britain’s rail services now frequently in the news, it is worth recalling that the relationship between Parliament and the iron road is a long one. In fact, the principle of legislative interference in the … Continue reading

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New article on Thomas Attwood and the Birmingham School in latest issue of Parliamentary History

My article ‘Radicals, Tories or monomaniacs?: The Birmingham currency reformers in the House of Commons, 1832-67’ has just been published in the latest issue of Parliamentary History, 31 (2012), pp. 354-77. The article grew out of research for the 1832-68 … Continue reading

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Naval MPs in the Victorian Commons

Trafalgar Day (21st October) seems a fitting date to note that the biographies already completed for the 1832-1868 project include several MPs who pursued careers in the navy before entering Parliament. These individuals were generally esteemed as representatives of a … Continue reading

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Parliament destroyed by fire

On 16 October 1834 an immense fire started by the over-zealous burning of waste took hold in the old Palace of Westminster, completely destroying the medieval Commons and Lords chambers as well as the Speaker’s apartments. The largest metropolitan conflagration … Continue reading

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‘Register, register, register!’: political activity in October

In modern politics the month of October is usually dominated by coverage of the major party conferences. In Victorian times, it was the stand-off between the political parties in the voter registration courts, famously immortalised by Peel’s call to ‘register, … Continue reading

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Disraeli and One Nation Conservatism

The Labour leader Ed Miliband mentioned ‘One Nation’ 44 times in his conference speech on Tuesday. The term ‘One Nation’, as many commentators have pointed out, is indelibly associated with the 19th century Conservative leader and prime minister Benjamin Disraeli … Continue reading

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Politics and poetry: a blog post for National Poetry Day 2012

The declaration of the result of the poll following a contested election could sometimes be a violent event. James Walker, the newly returned MP for Beverley in January 1860, suffered ‘a good many hard knocks’ when his procession away from … Continue reading

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