Author Archives: Kathryn Rix

From duelling to sharing the representation: Northumberland’s electoral politics in the nineteenth century

This post first appeared on the History of Parliament blog as part of a local history series on Northumberland’s politics. You can read the other posts in the series here and here. In 1826 Northumberland experienced its first contested election … Continue reading

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York: exploring the local history of a Victorian constituency

This blog, which explains some of the key features of our constituency articles, and how they might be of use to those interested in the history of a particular locality, originally appeared on the main History of Parliament’s blog. To … Continue reading

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‘The House divided’: the creation of a second division lobby for the Commons in 1836

With the creation of a second division lobby in 1836 having been mentioned during yesterday’s Commons debate on Restoration and Renewal, it seemed a good opportunity to share this post from our assistant editor Dr Kathryn Rix which originally appeared … Continue reading

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From Rochdale to Westminster: Emily Kelsall and the new Houses of Parliament

This post from our assistant editor Dr Kathryn Rix was first published on the Parliamentary Archives: Inside the Act Room blog, which has many more articles to read on parliamentary history, from the medieval to the modern. One of the … Continue reading

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‘Unpopular only with people who made no allowance for eccentricity’: Henry Bulwer (1801-72), the diplomat MP

Our MP of the Month is Sir Henry Bulwer, best known as a controversial and colourful career diplomat. In this guest post, Dr Laurence Guymer, who has published extensively on Bulwer’s diplomatic career, explores how this intersected with his time … Continue reading

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Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Open University: The Black and Mixed Ethnicity Presence in British Politics, 1750-1850

We are pleased to announce that the History of Parliament Trust is participating in a doctoral studentship project in partnership with the Open University. Applications are invited for an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award, for entry in 2020-21. The deadline … Continue reading

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The MP who founded a town: Sir Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood (1801-66)

Over the past few years, we have highlighted several MPs who, quite apart from their involvement in parliamentary debates and legislation, had a significant personal role in the development of the infrastructure of Victorian Britain. Previous MPs of the Month … Continue reading

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From celebrity to outcast: William Bankes MP (1786-1855)

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
Today’s blog is the second of three posts to celebrate LGBT+ History Month. In this blog we hear from Dr Philip Salmon, Editor of the House of Commons 1832-1868 project, about William Bankes…

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Beware the turnip! Unusual causes of death among Victorian MPs

Our MP of the Month, Sir William Payne Gallwey, died on this day in 1881 after suffering a rather unusual accident… On 19 December 1881 the former Conservative MP for Thirsk, Sir William Payne Gallwey, died following an accident while … Continue reading

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Elections and electioneering, 1832-1868

As voters across the country head to the polls this month, we thought it was an ideal opportunity to look back at some of the research on 19th century elections we have featured in our blogs over the past few … Continue reading

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Parliament versus the People: the Newport rising of 1839

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
Today marks the 180th anniversary of the Newport rising when government forces and Welsh Chartists clashed in the town of Newport. Here’s Dr Philip Salmon, editor of our House of Commons 1832-68 project,…

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A female politician? Lady Derby and mid-Victorian political life

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
Continuing our series on Women and Parliament, Dr. Jennifer Davey of the University of East Anglia looks at the influence of Mary, Countess of Derby (1824-1900) within the worlds of high politics and…

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Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Open University: The Black and Mixed Ethnicity Presence in British Politics, 1750-1850

We are pleased to announce that the History of Parliament Trust is participating in a doctoral studentship project in partnership with the Open University. Applications are invited for an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award, for entry in 2020-21. The deadline … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: George Augustus Constantine Phipps, Earl of Mulgrave (1819-1890), MP and colonial governor

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of our MP of the Month, George Augustus Constantine Phipps, who, after a short stint in the army, served in the Commons as Liberal MP for Scarborough, 1847-51 and 1852-57, under his … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: John Fenton (1791-1863)

In 1832 John Fenton, a Nonconformist Whig from a local banking and textile manufacturing family, was elected as the first MP for his native Rochdale, which had been given a parliamentary seat by the 1832 Reform Act. He lost to … Continue reading

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Ethnic minorities in Parliament: a new addition to the Victorian Commons

In our research on the membership of the House of Commons between 1832 and 1868, we previously identified two non-white MPs: John Stewart, MP for Lymington, 1832-47, the illegitimate son of a West Indian plantation owner, who was probably of … Continue reading

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The Speaker and the same question: a view from the Victorian Commons

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
In today’s blog Dr Philip Salmon, editor of the 1832-1945 House of Commons project, explores some of the historical background behind recent Parliamentary rulings relating to Brexit. The rules governing UK parliamentary procedure,…

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Corruption at elections in Britain in the 19th century

Following on from Martin Spychal’s blog about the paper he gave at last month’s ‘From “Old Corruption” to the New Corruption?’ conference, organised jointly by Oxford Brookes and Newman Universities, we hear from our assistant editor Kathryn Rix. She gave … Continue reading

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Victorian Election Violence Project

We’re delighted to host a guest blog from Dr. Gary Hutchison, Research Associate on the Victorian Election Violence Project at Durham University. Here he outlines the project’s methods and shares some of its preliminary findings. Electoral violence plagues many current … Continue reading

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Happy New Year from the Victorian Commons for 2019

The Victorian Commons wishes all its readers a very Happy New Year. We’re looking forward to another year of blogging, but in the meantime, here’s a look back over our posts from 2018. For the first time ever, we had … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: George Williams (1765-1850) and Ashton-under-Lyne

In December 1832 the voters of Ashton-under-Lyne elected George Williams, ‘a Radical Reformer’, as the first MP for their newly enfranchised constituency. Born in Newfoundland, Williams had joined the British army in North America in 1777, aged just 12. After … Continue reading

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An Artist in the Attic: Women and the House of Commons in the Early-Nineteenth Century

In this guest post, Amy Galvin-Elliott from the University of Warwick looks at how women were able to witness debates in the House of Commons from the ‘ventilator’, a space used until the fire of October 1834 destroyed the old … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: Josiah Wedgwood (1769-1843)

Our MP of the Month has a special significance for the History of Parliament Trust, being the great-grandfather (and namesake) of our founder, Josiah Wedgwood MP. This year the History of Parliament is marking the 75th anniversary of the death … Continue reading

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Tackling electoral corruption: how Victorian Britain reformed the trial of election petitions in 1868

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
Today marks the 150th anniversary of the passing of the Election Petitions and Corrupt Practices at Elections Act, an important part of the electoral reforms which had begun with the Second Reform Act of…

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Voice and Vote: behind the scenes

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
This blog looks at how the History of Parliament has been involved behind the scenes with the Voice and Vote exhibition which opened in Westminster Hall last week. Dr. Philip Salmon and Dr.…

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Club Government: How the Early Victorian World was Ruled from London Clubs

Earlier this year we were delighted to attend the launch of Seth Thévoz’s first book, Club Government: How the Early Victorian World was Ruled from London Clubs, published by I. B. Tauris. This book is based on research undertaken for … Continue reading

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The 1868 Boundary Act: Disraeli’s attempt to control his ‘leap in the dark’?

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the 1868 Boundary Act. As Martin Spychal of the Commons 1832-68 Section discusses in today’s blog, the oft-neglected story of the Act provides several key insights…

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MP of the Month: Lord Hotham (1794-1870)

Our MP of the Month, Lord Hotham, is one of a small number of individuals who sat for the entire period covered by our 1832-68 project. A Waterloo veteran, he had first been elected to the Commons in 1820 as … Continue reading

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Call for papers: ‘From “Old Corruption” to the New Corruption? Public Life and Public Service in Britain, c. 1780–1940’

Our assistant editor, Kathryn Rix, will be one of the keynote speakers at a 2 day conference entitled ‘From “Old Corruption” to the New Corruption? Public Life and Public Service in Britain, c. 1780–1940’, to be held at Oxford Brookes … Continue reading

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Before the vote was won: women and politics, 1832-68

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which received royal assent on 6 February. For the first time, virtually all the adult male population received the parliamentary franchise, whereas before this reform, around … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: John Moyer Heathcote (1800-1892), the MP who never was

One of our first tasks when we began our 1832-1868 project was to compile a full list of the MPs elected during this period whose biographies we would research. With invaluable assistance from Stephen Lees, who co-edited the later Who’s … Continue reading

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Welcome to the Victorian Commons

The Victorian Commons blog provides news and highlights from the History of Parliament’s research project on the House of Commons, 1832-68. For details about the project and how to access our work see our About page. The main History of Parliament website can be … Continue reading

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Happy New Year from the Victorian Commons for 2018

The Victorian Commons would like to wish all our readers a very Happy New Year. Before we resume blogging in 2018, we’d like to highlight some posts you may have missed in 2017. Our most popular post of 2017 looked … Continue reading

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‘A woman actually voted!’: Lily Maxwell and the Manchester by-election of November 1867

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the casting of a parliamentary vote by Lily Maxwell, a Manchester shopkeeper, more than half a century before the partial enfranchisement of women in 1918. On 26 November 1867, at a by-election in Manchester, … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: John Tomlinson Hibbert (1824-1908)

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the passing of the 1867 Reform Act. Introduced by Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Derby’s Conservative government, it added around a million voters to the register, primarily in borough constituencies. This greatly exceeded the … Continue reading

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‘The only really important public service I performed’: John Stuart Mill’s women’s suffrage amendment, 20 May 1867

Our MP of the Month is John Stuart Mill (1806-73), who sat as Liberal MP for Westminster, 1865-8. One hundred and fifty years ago this week, the House of Commons voted for the first time on the question of granting … Continue reading

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New publication: ‘The Second Reform Act and the problem of electoral corruption’

An article by our assistant editor, Kathryn Rix, on ‘The Second Reform Act and the problem of electoral corruption’ has just been published in a special issue of Parliamentary History, edited by Robert Saunders, and entitled ‘Shooting Niagara – and after?’ The … Continue reading

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‘The son of one of the best men who ever adorned the country’: William Wilberforce (1798-1879)

Trading heavily on his family name, William Wilberforce (1798-1879), eldest son and namesake of the noted anti-slave trade campaigner, was elected in 1837 as Conservative MP for Kingston-upon-Hull, which his father had represented from 1780 until 1784. During one election … Continue reading

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Happy New Year from the Victorian Commons for 2017

We would like to wish all the readers of the Victorian Commons a very Happy New Year for 2017! We’re looking forward to another year of blogging, but in the meantime, here are some of our blog highlights from 2016. … Continue reading

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New book: Parties, agents and electoral culture in England, 1880-1910

Our assistant editor, Dr. Kathryn Rix, has just published her first book, with Boydell and Brewer, in the Royal Historical Society’s Studies in History series, entitled Parties, agents and electoral culture in England, 1880-1910. She shares some of the key … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: John Gully (1783-1863)

Following on from the History of Parliament’s blog series on ‘Unlikely parliamentarians’ to mark Parliament Week 2016, our MP of the Month is another unlikely parliamentarian. John Gully, ‘an advanced reformer’, served as MP for Pontefract for five years from … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: James Lamont (1828-1913), Arctic explorer and scientist

Our MP of the Month blog for October comes from Dr Matthew McDowell, of the University of Edinburgh, who has contributed to our 1832-68 project with articles on Buteshire and its MPs. In this guest blog, he explores the career … Continue reading

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A Westminster Boy Made Good: Charles Barry (1795-1860)

Caroline Shenton won the Political Book of the Year Award in 2013 with The Day Parliament Burned Down and its sequel Mr Barry’s War is published this month.  In this guest post she reflects on an often-forgotten aspect of the … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: Daniel Gaskell (1782-1875)

Our Victorian Commons project is shedding new light on the increasingly important role played in the behind-the-scenes business of the post-1832 House of Commons, particularly in the committee-rooms, by MPs who came from non-elite backgrounds. While a family inheritance enabled … Continue reading

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‘The first humble beginnings of an agitation’: the women’s suffrage petition of 7 June 1866

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the presentation to Parliament of the first mass women’s suffrage petition on 7 June 1866. Signed by around 1,500 women, it was presented to the Commons by John Stuart Mill, who had been returned … Continue reading

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From ‘true blue’ Tory to Reformer: Samuel Adlam Bayntun (1804-1833)

While our MP of the Month sat only briefly in the Commons after 1832, his parliamentary career provides valuable insights into two important aspects of nineteenth-century politics: the fluidity of party labels and the influence which money had in the … Continue reading

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Happy New Year from the Victorian Commons

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 … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: Benjamin Rotch (1793-1854)

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Benjamin Rotch, Whig MP for Knaresborough from 1832 until 1835. This quirky character, described by one contemporary as a man who ‘would resort to any wily expedient to attain his own ends’, … Continue reading

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Scotland and the Conservative Party, 1832–1868

Gary Hutchison is a past winner of the History of Parliament’s undergraduate dissertation prize and is currently a PhD student and Wolfson Scholar at the University of Edinburgh. As he begins the second year of his doctoral research, he outlines his … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: the untimely death of James Platt, MP for Oldham (1823-57)

On this day in 1857, a shocking and tragic accident took place on the moors above Ashway Gap, near Saddleworth. One of Oldham’s recently elected Liberal MPs, James Platt, was shot dead by his close friend and relative, Josiah Radcliffe, … Continue reading

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