Author Archives: jowen1832

MP of the Month: the remarkable rise of William Schaw Lindsay

In the Persian Gulf in 1839, William Schaw Lindsay, captain of the merchant ship Olive Branch, was attacked by a sabre-wielding pirate, whom he promptly shot dead. If this brief encounter was almost unbelievably spectacular, Lindsay’s rise from a destitute … Continue reading

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

Originally posted on 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…

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MP of the Month: Edward Greene, brewer and businessman

At Westgate, in the heart of Bury St. Edmunds, stands the historic Greene King brewery, first established in 1799 by Benjamin Greene, a member of a Nonconformist Northamptonshire family of drapers, and his business partner William Buck. The brewery had … Continue reading

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Victorian MPs born at Christmas

Having drafted more than 1,000 biographies of MPs for the History of Parliament’s 1832-68 volume since our project began, we are now able to begin examining particular groups of parliamentarians in more thematic ways. In recent blogs, for example, we … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: George Palmer, a ‘firm friend of the shipwrecked’

In September 2008 an exceptionally rare Gold Medal produced by the Royal National Institute for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck was sold at auction for £3,200. The medal, with its unique pendant in the shape of a lifeboat, was … Continue reading

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A Victorian Essex Election

As electors go to the polls in the Clacton by-election, we consider how Essex voters behaved in the mid-nineteenth century, when the expanding seaside resort was still part of the Essex North constituency. In the fifty years following the 1832 … Continue reading

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Verse and Victorian MPs: National Poetry Day 2014

Poetry played an important role in Victorian political culture. From rhyming election squibs celebrating a prospective candidate, to Members of Parliament reciting classical verse in the Commons, political versifying was prevalent. To celebrate National Poetry Day, we offer a small … Continue reading

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Constituencies recently added to our preview site (2)

The 1832-68 House of Commons project includes studies of every constituency – more than 400 – in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Between 4,000 to 6,000 words in length, each study provides a detailed but accessible analysis of every parliamentary … Continue reading

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Victorian MPs on holiday

With the holiday season well and truly upon us, it seems fitting to consider how the protagonists of the Victorian Commons spent their vacations. The reasons why nineteenth-century MPs holidayed were as diverse as the locations they visited, and often … Continue reading

Posted in Biographies, Leisure, Parliamentary life | 1 Comment

MP of the Month: Lord Adolphus Vane-Tempest

Inside the mausoleum of the Church of St. Mary’s, Long Newton, in county Durham, is a small mural commemorating the life of Lord Adolphus Frederick Charles William Stewart Vane-Tempest (1825-1864), our MP of the Month for May. Vane-Tempest was the … Continue reading

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Victorian MPs and Colonial Governance

When the Marquess of Normanby recalled his method of dealing with difficult issues as a colonial governor, he revealed that he had always asked himself ‘What would they think upon this question in the House of Commons?’ Before his celebrated … Continue reading

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New book: Labour and the Caucus

One of our Research Fellows on the 1832-68 project, Dr. James Owen, has just published his first book, with Liverpool University Press, Labour and the Caucus: working-class radicalism and organised Liberalism in England, 1868-1888. James recently gave a paper on his … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: Sir Robert Juckes Clifton

Next to the Wilford toll bridge, on the Trent embankment near Nottingham, stands a statue of Sir Robert Juckes Clifton (1826-1869). The life-size sandstone statue, which was once described by the Strand magazine as having ‘the worst sculptured trousers in the kingdom’, … Continue reading

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Christmas is a time for giving: Victorian MPs and the festive season

In Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, first published in 1843, Scrooge’s nephew describes Christmas as ‘a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time’. For many Victorian Members of Parliament, ‘kind’ and ‘charitable’ giving at Christmas was an important part of their role … Continue reading

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Constituencies recently added to our preview site

The 1832-68 House of Commons project includes studies of every constituency – more than 400 – in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Since beginning our research in 2009, we have completed over 100 constituency articles. Around 4,000 to 6,000 words … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: John Bowes

The Bowes Museum, situated in the historic market town of Barnard Castle, county Durham, is home to an internationally renowned and diverse collection of fine and decorative arts. The museum was the brainchild of John Bowes and his wife Joséphine, … Continue reading

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A year of the Victorian Commons

This month marks the one year anniversary of the Victorian Commons blog. To celebrate this milestone, and the 10,000 hits the blog has received, we look back over our first year of blogging. From the outset, one of our aims … Continue reading

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MPs at the crease: a Victorian Commons First Eleven

Cricket fever is about to sweep the nation. Today (10 July) sees the start of the 2013 Ashes series between England and Australia, a celebrated and fiercely contested rivalry that dates back to 1882. Historically, cricketing terminology, with its allusions … Continue reading

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Researching Victorian MPs online: some useful but less well known databases

In an earlier blog on researching Victorian MPs online, we considered various countries’ online dictionaries of national biography and how their content helped shed light on MPs’ interests across the British empire. In this post, we highlight some of the … Continue reading

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The People’s Charter and the Victorian Commons

On 8 May 1838 the People’s Charter was first published. To celebrate its 175th anniversary, we consider the initial response of Victorian MPs to the Charter and the ways in which the History of Parliament’s House of Commons 1832-68 project … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: Sir Robert Heron (1765-1854)

For historians of the Victorian House of Commons, there is perhaps no richer source for throwing light on the political personalities of the day than the journals and diaries of nineteenth-century Members of Parliament. Although Sir Robert Heron (1765-1854), who … Continue reading

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Researching Victorian MPs online: dictionaries of national biography

In the past five years or so there has been an explosion in the number of historical resources available online, whose content can be searched with just one click of a mouse. In researching MPs who sat in the Commons … Continue reading

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Politicians and the press: the case of John Walter, Member of Parliament and owner of The Times

This is the first in our series of ‘MP of the Month’ blog posts, where we look in more detail at backbench politicians whose careers shed light on the history of the Commons between 1832 and 1868. With the Leveson … Continue reading

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American presidential elections: the view from the Victorian Commons

Today marks the climax of one of the closest and hardest fought American presidential elections in history. The contest between the Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been copiously covered by the British press, reflecting … Continue reading

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Brothers in the Victorian Commons

This week, as the Labour party conference gets into full swing in Manchester, much of the media’s focus will fall on Ed Miliband, and whether he has the necessary qualities to become Prime Minister. Inevitably, discussions of his character will … Continue reading

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Robert Fitzroy MP and the Weather Forecast

During the recent Olympic opening ceremony, a short clip was played of the infamous weather forecast in which Michael Fish dismissed the idea that a hurricane was on the way. In a ceremony that was a celebration of ‘Britishness’, this … Continue reading

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