As 2015 comes to a close, we would like to wish all the readers of the Victorian Commons a very Happy New Year for 2016! We’re looking forward to another year of blogging, but in the meantime, here are some of our highlights of 2015.
Our most popular post this year featured the unfortunate case of James Platt, the newly elected Liberal MP for Oldham, who was accidentally shot dead by his friend, the mayor of Oldham. Platt was one of our twelve MP of the Month blogs, which have also included Edward Greene, of the Greene King brewery; Captain Brownlow Layard, who lobbied on the issue of soldiers’ welfare; and William Pinney, whose election for Lyme Regis shed intriguing light on the question of slavery. Particularly interesting reads were Albert Grant, whose shady reputation as a financier inspired Anthony Trollope to create Augustus Melmotte, the central character in The Way We Live Now, and Benjamin Rotch, would-be duellist, inventor, teetotaller and prison reformer.
In the summer we said goodbye to one of our research fellows, Dr. James Owen, who found time to write one last blog for us, on William Schaw Lindsay, an MP whose remarkable rise from destitute orphan to merchant prince included an encounter with a sabre-wielding pirate. Although James will be much missed, we are pleased to be joined from January 2016 by Martin Spychal, whose PhD research on the boundary commission and the 1832 Reform Act featured on our blog earlier this year.
Two other historians have shared their PhD research with us in guest blogs: Gary Hutchison of the University of Edinburgh, who is working on Scotland and the Conservative party, 1832-1868; and Rebekah Moore, our AHRC collaborative doctoral award student, who is investigating the temporary Houses of Parliament after the devastating 1834 fire.
Alongside our blogs on parliamentary elections, our editor Philip Salmon shared his expertise on Victorian political memorabilia and on town council elections, marking the 180th anniversary of the Municipal Corporations Act. We also remembered the 200th anniversary of Waterloo with Stephen Ball’s blog on some of the Irish MPs who fought there. With youthful MPs in the news following Mhairi Black’s election in May, we blogged about the youngest MP of the 1832-68 period, returned at the age of 20. Our assistant editor Kathryn Rix has been looking beyond the Victorian period with a series of posts on the main History of Parliament site about MPs killed during the First World War.
Our draft biographies and constituency articles can be found on our preview site – details of how to access and cite our work can be found in these links. You can sign up to follow our blog via e-mail, or follow us on Twitter @TheVictCommons
We look forward to sharing more of our research with you in 2016. Happy New Year!