Dr Martin Spychal

Research Fellow mspychal@histparl.ac.uk


I joined the History of Parliament as a research fellow on the 1832 – 1945 project in 2016. I am currently researching biographies of MPs and constituencies for the period 1832–1868.

Research and Publications

I completed my PhD at the Institute of Historical Research in 2017. My thesis, ‘Constructing England’s electoral map: parliamentary boundaries and the 1832 Reform Act’, is the first sustained study of the parliamentary commissions and boundary changes that accompanied the 1832 Reform Act.

My research interests include:
• the electoral and non-electoral impact of the 1832 Reform Act, and the evolution of Britain’s electoral map to the present day
• the networks of power and legislation that developed around political, professional and social institutions in nineteenth-century Britain

My papers and publications include:

“One of the best men of business we had ever met’: Thomas Drummond, the boundary commission and the 1832 Reform Act’, Historical Research, 90, 249 (2017) [proxime accessit 2015 Pollard Prize];

– ‘A balancing Act? The language of interests, representation and parliamentary reform, 1815-1832’, Parliaments and Popular Sovereignty Conference, Manchester, November 2017;

Book Review, A. Howe & S. Morgan (eds.), The Letters of Richard Cobden. Volume IV: 1860-1865Parliamentary History, 36 (2017), 268-270;

– ‘Constructing the reformed Commons: the 1831–2 English boundary commission and the 1832 Reform Act’,  Making Parliaments, Building Constitutions Conference, ICHRPI, London, June 2015;

– ‘‘the county-mongering clause’: The Times, the division of counties and the 1832 Reform Act’, Politics Before Democracy Conference, UEA, Norwich, April 2014;

– ‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The Times, accountability, and the Metropolitan Police 1829-1830’. Institutions, IHR Annual History Lab Conference, London, June 2013

My Victorian Commons posts:

– ‘MP of the Month: Charles Gilpin (1815-1874)‘, September 2017

‘Some parallels: the 1832 and 2018 boundary reviews’, July 2017

– ‘Five elections in seven years: Peterborough, Whalley and the Fitzwilliam interest’, April 2017

– ‘”Fighting, swearing, drinking, and squabbling”: Charles Dickens, Eatanswill and the 1835 Northamptonshire North by-election’, February 2017

– ‘MP of the Month: Charles Capper (1822-1869)’, December 2016

– ‘The sagacity of the elephant, as well as the form’: MP of the Month, George Ward Hunt (1825-77)’, July 2016

‘A family affair: the Knightleys and Northamptonshire South, 1832-1868’, March 2016