Author Archives: Kathryn Rix

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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A rather pale copy of the original: John Morgan Cobbett (1800-1877)

As we continue our research on the 1832-68 Commons project, one theme we are exploring is the importance of family connections in an MP’s parliamentary career. Long-standing family ties to an area could assist a candidate in securing election for … Continue reading

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Congratulations to Martin Spychal, Pollard prize runner-up

We would like to congratulate Martin Spychal, who holds an AHRC collaborative doctoral award with the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament, on being runner up in the Pollard Prize for the best paper given at an IHR … Continue reading

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Job opportunity on our project: Research assistant / Research fellow

The History of Parliament has a vacancy for a research assistant / research fellow on its 1832-1945 House of Commons project. The successful candidate will have a PhD (or be close to completing one) in a relevant area of history … Continue reading

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The Palace of Westminster: the balance between the traditional and the practical

In this week’s blog Rebekah Moore, one of our AHRC collaborative PhD students, recalls an earlier debate about the cost and location of the UK’s Parliamentary buildings … Last week, a report examining the necessary repairs and alterations to the … Continue reading

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Conference on petitioning

Readers of our blog may be interested in an event involving our former research fellow, Dr. Henry Miller (now at the University of Manchester’s History Department). During his time at the History of Parliament, he published an article in the English Historical … Continue reading

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The youngest MP? The ‘baby’ of the first Reformed Parliament

With the election of Mhairi Black as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South at the age of 20, there has been some discussion of how far back in the parliamentary records one has to delve to find a younger MP. … Continue reading

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Predicting the polls: a Victorian perspective

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
As the UK goes to the polls today, here’s the last in our series of blogs on elections through the centuries. With the outcome of today’s vote still baffling the pollsters, Dr Philip…

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MP of the month: John Wright Treeby and another kind of ‘villa Toryism’

In April’s ‘MP of the month’ post Dr Philip Salmon highlights the career of a Tory builder dubbed ‘bricks and mortar’ Treeby, who helped build parts of St John’s Wood and London’s first underground railway. One of the more surprising … Continue reading

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The parliamentary diary of Henry Broadley

One of our early modern colleagues at the History of Parliament, Dr. Stephen Roberts, recently gave a fascinating seminar paper on a parliamentary diary recording events from 1640 and 1641. Inspired by this, our MP of the Month is a … Continue reading

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Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Martin Spychal, ‘One of the best men of business we had ever met’: Thomas Drummond, the boundary commission and the 1832 Reform Act

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
At our last ‘Parliaments, Politics and People’ seminar, Martin Spychal, holder of an AHRC collaborative doctoral award with the History of Parliament and Institute of Historical Research, gave a paper on Thomas Drummond…

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‘He has wasted all the affections of my poor heart’: Jane Welsh Carlyle and George Rennie MP

Two years ago our Valentine’s Day blog featured the youthful romance between Jane Austen and Thomas Lefroy. Austen had died long before Lefroy entered the House of Commons in 1830 as MP for Dublin University. In today’s blog, we look … Continue reading

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Happy New Year from the Victorian Commons for 2015

The Victorian Commons would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. Before we resume blogging for 2015, we’d like to highlight some posts you may have missed in 2014. One of our most popular blogs from 2014 featured MPs … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: the Fitzwilliams of Wentworth Woodhouse

Earlier this month it was reported that one of the largest private residences in Europe, the Grade I listed Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham in Yorkshire, is to be put up for sale. With 365 rooms and the longest front of … Continue reading

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New article on reporting the proceedings of the House of Commons, 1833-50

My article ‘“Whatever passed in Parliament ought to be communicated to the public”: reporting the proceedings of the Reformed Commons, 1833-50’ has been published in the most recent issue of Parliamentary History, 33:3 (2014), pp. 453-74. It looks at the … Continue reading

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‘I am not in a position of life in which our Members usually are’: William Wood (1816-71), MP for Pontefract

The Lib-Lab MPs Thomas Burt and Alexander Macdonald, both miners who were elected to the Commons at the 1874 general election, are generally regarded as the first working men to enter Parliament. As we continue our research for the 1832-68 … Continue reading

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Happy 500th birthday to Trinity House

This week sees the 500th anniversary of the presentation of a royal charter (on 20 May 1514) to ‘the Master Wardens and Assistants of the Guild Fraternity or Brotherhood of the Most Glorious and Undivided Trinity and of Saint Clement … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: John Cheetham (1802-1886), of Eastwood, Stalybridge

Our MP of the Month for April was, perhaps rather surprisingly, the focus of a recent archaeological dig. John Cheetham (1802-1886), who sat as a Liberal MP for Lancashire South from 1852 until 1859, and for Salford from 1865 until … Continue reading

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‘Politics before democracy: Britain and its world, c. 1830-1914’ conference at UEA

Last week members (past and present) of the House of Commons 1832-68 research team gave presentations at the ‘Politics before democracy’ conference hosted by the School of History at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. Philip Salmon and Kathryn … Continue reading

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Live long and prosper: longevity among nineteenth-century MPs

As we continue our research on the 2,589 MPs who were elected to Parliament between 1832 and 1868, we are assembling a fascinating range of statistics. Some of the most interesting we have come across recently relate to the longevity … Continue reading

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Happy New Year from the Victorian Commons for 2014!

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 … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: William Turner

Elected as MP for his native Blackburn in 1832, William Turner (1776-1842) was derided by his erstwhile Radical opponent, John Bowring, as having ‘had absolutely no recommendation whatever’ to enter Parliament ‘but that he had wealth, and was willing to … Continue reading

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Parliament Week 2013: Women in Democracy

To mark Parliament Week 2013, the theme of which is ‘Women in Democracy’, we would like to share some of our recent research highlighting the varied nature of female participation in British political life during the nineteenth century, despite the … Continue reading

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Parliamentarians and poetry: National Poetry Day 2013

On last year’s National Poetry Day our blog featured some celebratory verse from Harry Stephen Thompson, the newly elected Liberal MP for Whitby in 1859. ‘This is the Member for Whitby’, a pastiche of the nursery rhyme ‘The house that … Continue reading

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Book review: By-elections in British politics, 1832-1914

A review of By-elections in British politics, 1832-1914 (edited by T. Otte and P. Readman), to which Philip Salmon and Kathryn Rix have both contributed chapters, has just been published by Reviews in History. Our earlier blog giving details of … Continue reading

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Congratulations to Dr Henry Miller!

We’d like to congratulate Dr Henry Miller, who joined our project in 2009, on his new appointment as a lecturer at the University of Manchester. From September 2013 Henry will be a full-time lecturer in Nineteenth-Century British History in Manchester’s … Continue reading

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What’s in a name? Part 2: from science to soup

In Part I of our ‘What’s in a name?’ blog, we looked at some of the many places named in honour of nineteenth-century MPs, including the site of the world’s largest Adélie penguin colony and one of Cape Town’s main … Continue reading

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Elections after the secret ballot

Following on from Philip Salmon’s recent post about elections before the secret ballot, you can now see Kathryn Rix’s post on the main History of Parliament blog about the first poll under the 1872 Ballot Act, held at Pontefract 141 years … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: Sir George Cayley, ‘the man who discovered flight’

In 1909 the pioneering aviator Wilbur Wright paid tribute to an Englishman who had a century earlier ‘carried the science of flight to a point which it had never reached before and which it scarcely reached again during the last … Continue reading

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MPs and Queen Victoria’s coronation

Today (28 June) marks the 175th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s coronation at Westminster Abbey. Naturally this major national event was attended by members of both Houses of Parliament. Although it was members of the House of Lords who performed key … Continue reading

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What’s in a name? Part 1: places

What do the following have in common: the site of the world’s largest Adélie penguin colony, one of Cape Town’s main streets and a car park in northern France? The curious answer is that they are all named after nineteenth-century … Continue reading

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Sir John Lubbock and Bank Holidays

Today the Victorian Commons is blogging on the main History of Parliament blog, where Kathryn Rix looks at Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913), Liberal MP for Maidstone, 1870-80, and London University, 1880-1900. To read about his efforts in passing the 1871 … Continue reading

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Democracy in Devon: exhibition at the Devon Heritage Centre

Welcome to the second of our guest blogs, which coincides with an exhibition running at the Devon Heritage Centre. Organised by Dr. David Thackeray, of the University of Exeter, the exhibition demonstrates the vitality of popular participation in nineteenth century … Continue reading

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By-elections in British politics, 1832-1914

Published this month, By-elections in British politics, 1832-1914 (edited by T.G. Otte and Paul Readman) includes contributions from our editor, Philip Salmon, and our assistant editor, Kathryn Rix. Philip’s chapter on ‘Plumping Contests’ is about the different electoral process that operated in by-elections and … Continue reading

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MPs at the Old Bailey

The Victorian Commons would like to wish the Old Bailey Online a happy tenth anniversary! We’re joining fellow bloggers by contributing this post to this weekend’s celebratory blogging event. Our History of Parliament colleague, Ruth Paley, has also written a … Continue reading

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Wm. Roger Louis Prize awarded to Dr. James Owen

The Victorian Commons is delighted to announce that Dr. James Owen, a Research Fellow on the 1832-1868 project, has been jointly awarded the Wm. Roger Louis Prize for 2013. This prize is awarded for the best paper given at the … Continue reading

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MP of the month: Joseph Holdsworth, candidate or returning officer?

In July 1841 Joseph Holdsworth (1789-1857), a prosperous local dyer, was elected as Liberal MP for his native town of Wakefield. Only nine months later he found himself out of Parliament, having been unseated by an election petition. Holdsworth was … Continue reading

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From the Victorian Commons to the Victorian Lords

This week our assistant editor Kathryn Rix turns her attention from the House of Commons to the House of Lords, with a contribution to the Guest Historians section of the Number 10 Downing Street website. Her article looks at Prime Ministers who sat … Continue reading

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Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot, Father of the House

On St. David’s Day, there could be no more fitting choice for our blog than a record-breaking Welsh MP. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot, the ‘Father of the House’, died in January 1890 after almost sixty years of unbroken service representing … Continue reading

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The member for Lambeth North, I presume?

The journalist and explorer Henry Morton Stanley was born on this day (28 January) in 1841. Famously associated with finding David Livingstone near Lake Tanganyika in 1871, what is less well-known is that Stanley served as an MP, albeit an … Continue reading

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Happy New Year from the Victorian Commons!

As 2013 begins, the Victorian Commons blog would like to wish all its readers a very Happy New Year! We’re looking forward to a new year of blogging, but in the meantime, here are some of our highlights of 2012. Our … Continue reading

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Christmas at Newgate: Edward Glover MP and the abolition of the property qualification

Less than nine months after he had been elected as MP for Beverley at the 1857 general election, Edward Auchmuty Glover found himself spending Christmas Day in Newgate prison, having been arrested two days earlier. This energetic Irish barrister had … Continue reading

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Parliament Week 2012 – Grey’s Reform ministry

This week (19-25 November) is Parliament Week 2012. To mark the occasion, the History of Parliament is publishing a specially commissioned series of articles on key parliamentary events, one of which comes from Dr. Philip Salmon, editor of the 1832-68 project. On … Continue reading

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Police commissioner elections in the nineteenth century

The elections for police and crime commissioners taking place later this week across England and Wales may seem a novelty, but in fact this is not the first time that British voters have been called upon to decide between rival … 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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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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