Tag Archives: Biographies

MP of the month: James Barlow Hoy (1794-1843)

As biographies of long-forgotten politicians go, this month’s MP ticks all the boxes, offering an extraordinary rags-to-riches tale, the beginnings of a brilliant political career accompanied by fraud and bankruptcy, and even an allegation of murder. Hoy, or Barlow as … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: Edward Lucas and the administration of Ireland, 1841-5

Edward Lucas was already an experienced parliamentarian when in September 1841 he was appointed under-secretary for Ireland, a post which for at least three-quarters of the year made the holder ‘the executive of Ireland’. In practice the political head of … 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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‘A kindhearted savage of a man’: Arthur Wills Blundell Sandys Trumbull Windsor Hill, Earl of Hillsborough (1812-68)

While the Reformed Commons undoubtedly contained men who had broken the sixth commandment, most had done so while licensed by military service. The Earl of Hillsborough, however, appears to have been responsible for the death of at least one man … 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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‘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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‘So tall, so handsome!’: William Henry Hyett, MP, athlete, philanthropist, teacher and poet

As the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo approaches, one is reminded of the significant number of MPs who participated in that famous feat of arms. Although our MP of the month, William Henry Hyett (1795-1877), had only a tangential … Continue reading

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Catholics in the Commons: part 1

As we celebrate Bonfire Night, it is worth reflecting on the anti-Catholicism still faced by Catholic MPs in the Victorian Commons, over two centuries years after Guy Fawkes’s failed attempt to blow up Parliament in 1605. It may seem surprising … 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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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MP of the Month: Viscount Ingestre

Viscount Ingestre (1803-68) was an Ultra-Tory MP whose greatest claim to fame was as the tireless champion of the dubious inventions of the charlatan ‘Captain’ Warner which would supposedly revolutionise naval warfare. Lord Stanley, the earl of Derby’s heir, noted … 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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MP of the month: William Hughes Hughes

There are always some MPs who defy convention and become something of an institution in the House. Many are respected, even fêted, for their idiosyncracy. Some though, for one reason or another, find themselves the object of derision and contempt. … 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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MP of the month: William Christmas

With the festive season approaching, there could be no more fitting ‘MP of the month’ than William Christmas (c. 1799-1867), Conservative MP for the city of Waterford, 1832-5 and 1841-2, whose biography is one of the latest to be added … 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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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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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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