We would like to wish all the readers of the Victorian Commons blog a very Happy New Year for 2014! Before we embark on our next year of blogging, we wanted to share some of our highlights of 2013.
Our most popular new posts were a guest blog from Dr. Sarah Richardson of Warwick University on the Victorian female franchise, and, inspired by last year’s horsemeat scandal, our blog on the history of food adulteration. Sarah’s blog highlighted the significance of female participation in the Victorian electoral system, a theme also developed in our Parliament Week blog and our post on the efforts of George Faithfull in championing the rights of Brighton’s female municipal voters.
Faithfull was one of our 12 featured ‘MPs of the Month’, who also included the creator of the National Arboretum, Robert Holford; the founding father of aeronautical science, Sir George Cayley; two notable art collectors, John Bowes (founder of the Bowes Museum) and William Coningham (an early socialist); and the captain of the Royal Yacht, Henry Seymour. The Victorian Commons blog draws on our ongoing research for the History of Parliament’s House of Commons, 1832-1868 project, for which we are writing biographies of the 2,589 MPs who were elected during this period.
We have added a new ‘Resources’ section to our blog, listing some of the key online resources we use in our research. Alongside our biographies of MPs, we are producing studies of the elections in each of the 401 constituencies in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Drafts of the articles we have completed to date can be accessed on our preview site.
The differing Scottish and Irish electoral systems have been discussed on our blog, and our editor Dr. Philip Salmon wrote about the mechanics of open voting, prior to the introduction of the secret ballot in 1872. Among the other subjects we featured in 2013 were matters sartorial and culinary; poetry and penguins; and a cautionary tale on the dangers of gunpowder! We marked the 175th anniversary of the People’s Charter and put together a First Eleven of cricketing MPs. We also contributed to the main History of Parliament blog with posts on Bank Holidays, the secret ballot and Henry Morton Stanley, journalist, explorer and MP.
To keep up to date with our progress in 2014, please feel free to follow our blog, or you can find us on Twitter: @TheVictCommons