Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Rebekah Moore, ‘Contested spaces: temporary houses of Parliament and government, 1834-52’

Our PhD student Rebekah Moore (on an AHRC collaborative doctoral award with the History of Parliament and the Institute of Historical Research) shares some of her research on the temporary houses of Parliament, 1834-52, a project that is set to shed fresh light on an important aspect of the Victorian Commons.

The History of Parliament

At our last ‘Parliaments, Politics and People’ seminar, Rebekah Moore, holder of an AHRC collaborative doctoral award with the History of Parliament and Institute of Historical Research, gave a paper on the temporary Houses of Parliament after the fire of 1834. Here Rebekah gives an overview of her paper…

From 1557, the House of Commons was situated in St Stephen’s Chapel, one of the medieval buildings of the Palace of Westminster. Following the Great Reform Act of 1832, St Stephen’s was home to 658 MPs. Yet St Stephen’s was increasingly suitable for use by the Commons, only seating around 300 MPs on the floor of the House. The cramped conditions, and the increasingly poor ventilation led James Grant to declare that St Stephen’s was akin to the ‘second edition of the Black Hole of Calcutta’ [James Grant, Random Recollections of the House of Commons… (London, 1837), p1].

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