Category Archives: Corruption

‘The Donkey and his young asses’: stationery, corruption and the short-lived parliamentary career of Sir John Key (1794-1858)

This month our research fellow, Dr Martin Spychal, takes a look at the humiliating demise of Sir John Key, or ‘Sir Don Key’ as he was widely mocked at Westminster. As Lord Mayor of London and one of Britain’s most … Continue reading

Posted in Corruption, MP of the Month | Leave a comment

MP of the Month: Thomas Neville Abdy (1810-1877) and electoral misconduct

Thomas Abdy’s political career provides a useful reminder of the chicanery, lies and corruption sometimes associated with 19th century English electioneering – venal traditions that became increasingly unacceptable during the Victorian era. Born into a naval family – his father … Continue reading

Posted in Biographies, Constituencies, Corruption, Elections, MP of the Month, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The representation of Devon and Cornwall after reform, 1832-68

Last week the History of Parliament and the Devon and Cornwall Record Society hosted a conference at Exeter on ‘The South West and Parliament’. Dr Martin Spychal of the Victorian Commons spoke at the event, and today provides an overview of … Continue reading

Posted in Biographies, Conferences and seminars, Constituencies, Corruption, Elections, Parliamentary life, party labels, Uncategorized, Voting and Divisions, women, Working-class politics | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Conferences and seminars, Corruption, Elections | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Electoral malpractice and uncivil political speech: the case of Alfred Seymour MP

Our ‘MP of the Month’ blog highlights some themes still fresh in our minds after attending a conference on corruption at Oxford Brookes University. Alfred Seymour (1824-1888) was the younger brother of the better known archaeologist and explorer Henry Danby … Continue reading

Posted in Biographies, Conferences and seminars, Corruption, Elections, MP of the Month, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Innovation, corruption and bankruptcy: Charles John Mare (1814-1898)

Charles John Mare (1814-1898) was an innovative East End shipbuilder. Thought to be a millionaire when he was returned for Plymouth in 1852, his election proved the apex of his career. He was unseated for bribery in 1853, and declared bankrupt, for the first of four times, in 1855. Continue reading

Posted in Biographies, Corruption, Elections, Images of MPs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

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…

Posted in Corruption, Legislation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Conferences and seminars, Corruption, Forthcoming events | Tagged , | Leave a comment

MP of the Month: John Barton Willis Fleming (1781-1844)

With modern electioneering tactics currently attracting so much scrutiny at home and abroad, our Victorian MP of the Month focuses on a notorious election fixer or ‘boroughmonger’, whose activities increasingly pushed the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. His refusal to answer … Continue reading

Posted in Biographies, Corruption, Elections, MP of the Month | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Parliaments and Popular Sovereignty Conference: Manchester

Last week two members of the Victorian Commons project gave papers in Manchester, at a conference held at the People’s History Museum, home to what must surely be one of the UK’s finest collections of political memorabilia associated with mass … Continue reading

Posted in Conferences and seminars, Corruption, Elections | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Corruption, Publications | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

‘Fighting, swearing, drinking, and squabbling’: Charles Dickens, Eatanswill and the 1835 Northamptonshire North by-election

Today’s blog marks the anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth by exploring the inspiration behind one of the most notable political events in his first novel. Dickens’s riotous description of the Eatanswill borough election in the Pickwick Papers, first published in July … Continue reading

Posted in 1832-68 preview site, Constituencies, Corruption, Elections | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

MP of the month: William Pinney and another kind of ‘slavery election’

William Pinney’s career as an MP serves as an important reminder of the legacy of slave ownership in British public life and the very different attitudes to electoral corruption that existed in the nineteenth century, even among radically-inclined Liberals. In Pinney’s … Continue reading

Posted in Biographies, Constituencies, Corruption, Elections, MP of the Month | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Constituencies, Corruption | Tagged | 1 Comment