UK Parliamentary Archives

UK Parliamentary Archives We look after 500 years of historic records, preserved in a Victorian skyscraper We look after the historic records of the UK House of Commons and House of Lords, dating back more than 500 years, preserved in the Victoria Tower.
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Operating as usual

On This Day in 1666 the Great Fire of London started in a small bakery on Pudding Lane. From our collection, this House ...
02/09/2020

On This Day in 1666 the Great Fire of London started in a small bakery on Pudding Lane. From our collection, this House of Commons Journal records a speech by King Charles II describing the “Calamity by Fire”.

On Taylor Swift lockdown album ‘Folklore’ she has recorded a little secret track about one of her favourite places ‘The ...
01/09/2020

On Taylor Swift lockdown album ‘Folklore’ she has recorded a little secret track about one of her favourite places ‘The Lakes’. Which answers the question of what do you get that person who has everything?? A National Trust pass of course...See the 1907 NT Act below National Trust

On this Day 1986; The art world mourned the death of our most celebrated sculptor, Henry Moore. Here he is pictured in 1...
31/08/2020

On this Day 1986; The art world mourned the death of our most celebrated sculptor, Henry Moore. Here he is pictured in 1978 with then Prime Minister, James Callaghan at his Hyde Park Exhibition. 'Sunny Jim' is probably thinking to himself, Which one is the famous Flo? Tate

On this day in 1820, Louisa Demont, Caroline’s former maid was sworn in. Over the next few days she would corroborate th...
30/08/2020

On this day in 1820, Louisa Demont, Caroline’s former maid was sworn in. Over the next few days she would corroborate the accusations of earlier witnesses about inappropriate conduct between Pergami and Caroline.

Find out more here, http://ow.ly/LbF150B4j2G

This weekend marks the 50th Anniv of the Isle of Wight Festival. It was a rum affair with an estimated crowd of 600,000 ...
29/08/2020

This weekend marks the 50th Anniv of the Isle of Wight Festival. It was a rum affair with an estimated crowd of 600,000 & its infamous Desolation Row. The hippy dream had gone sour for the local residents & this 1971 Act outlawed the event. It did not return till the new millennium.

On This Day in 1963 Martin Luther King Jr gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial to over 250,000 peopl...
28/08/2020

On This Day in 1963 Martin Luther King Jr gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech at the Lincoln Memorial to over 250,000 people. This letter from the American Committee on Africa is signed by him as he was the Vice-Chairman of the Committee.

50 years ago this month, the ‘Hands Off The Mangrove’ March took place in West London protesting police activities in th...
27/08/2020

50 years ago this month, the ‘Hands Off The Mangrove’ March took place in West London protesting police activities in the area. This led to a famous Old Bailey Trial involving Darcus Howe. Activist David Pitt (see below) was on hand to assist the campaign. Black Cultural Archives

Happy National Dog Day! Here is Serjeant at Arms, Alexander Gordon-Lennox in his finery with a couple of four-legged fri...
26/08/2020

Happy National Dog Day! Here is Serjeant at Arms, Alexander Gordon-Lennox in his finery with a couple of four-legged friends. Lennox served as Serjeant at Arms between 1962 and 1976, after his retirement from the Navy.

On the 2nd day of the English Civil War, 23rd August 1642, it is recorded in the House of Commons Journal that Mr Cromwe...
25/08/2020

On the 2nd day of the English Civil War, 23rd August 1642, it is recorded in the House of Commons Journal that Mr Cromwell was to thank “Sir John Cutts, Sir Thomas Martyn, and other Gentlemen” for assistance in “Defence of the Kingdom”.

On 22nd August 1642 the English Civil War began. This House of Lords Journals records a message sent by King Charles I i...
24/08/2020

On 22nd August 1642 the English Civil War began. This House of Lords Journals records a message sent by King Charles I in Nottingham to both Houses of Parliament.

Today is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade & its Abolition. Here is the Abolition of Slavery ...
23/08/2020

Today is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade & its Abolition. Here is the Abolition of Slavery Act from our collection, passed on the 28th August 1833.

On this day  in 1820, the first witness against Caroline was called in, Theodore Majoochi. He was a former servant of Ca...
21/08/2020

On this day in 1820, the first witness against Caroline was called in, Theodore Majoochi. He was a former servant of Caroline’s .

When Caroline saw him, she screamed ‘Theodore! No! no!’, rose from her seat and left the house. He described seeing Pergami and Caroline kiss on the lips, and bathe together .

The final day of our Living History themed week has come. Nostalgia is very much rooted in fashion & many of us have had...
21/08/2020

The final day of our Living History themed week has come. Nostalgia is very much rooted in fashion & many of us have had an ‘Edwardian’ phase!! For some, it's never gone away as the attire of the House of Commons Serjeant at-arms team shows...see these fab designs below.

It was said that the 2012 Silver Jubilee Celebrations kickstarted the Living History Movement. A nostalgia fest began fo...
20/08/2020

It was said that the 2012 Silver Jubilee Celebrations kickstarted the Living History Movement. A nostalgia fest began for all things Fifties like knitting, partner-dancing & of course sloe gin! The decade itself was dominated by the Coronation & lots of bunting!!

On this day  in 1820, Thomas Denman, one of the Queen’s lawyers, made his opening speech in Caroline’s defence. In his s...
18/08/2020

On this day in 1820, Thomas Denman, one of the Queen’s lawyers, made his opening speech in Caroline’s defence.

In his speech, he said: ‘Really, my lords, it appears to me that we are acting the "School for Scandal;" and that this solemn inquiry in which we are engaged, is nothing more than a solemn farce’.

For the prosecution, Robert Gifford insisted adultery by a woman was worse than by a man: ‘The counsel for the Queen seemed to think that there was no difference between adultery committed by a man and by a woman'

‘This was a most extraordinary proposition, whether considered legally or with reference to its effects upon society’ .

You can learn more about Queen Caroline and the trial from our blog, http://ow.ly/gXro50AQ722

We continue our celebration of nostalgia & the Living History Movement. Has anyone ever took the plunge & gone all Eliza...
18/08/2020

We continue our celebration of nostalgia & the Living History Movement. Has anyone ever took the plunge & gone all Elizabethan for a fancy dress costume?? Telling all & sundry you're Virginia Woolf’s Orlando!! Below a 1571 Act adorned with the ‘Elizabeth R’ signature.

On this day in 1820 the trial of Queen Caroline officially began, with the second reading of the Bill of Pains and Penal...
17/08/2020

On this day in 1820 the trial of Queen Caroline officially began, with the second reading of the Bill of Pains and Penalties.

In his opening speech, Henry Brougham, attorney general to the Queen, asked ‘whether adultery is to be considered only a crime in woman’.

Two petitions were received by the Lords in defence of Caroline, from the City of London, and the Freeholders of Middlesex . You can learn more about the petitions here, http://ow.ly/QNcM50AQ73O

This month’s Themed Week celebrates nostalgia & the Living History scene that’s blossomed in 2020 – well who wouldn’t wa...
17/08/2020

This month’s Themed Week celebrates nostalgia & the Living History scene that’s blossomed in 2020 – well who wouldn’t want some escapism over the last six months...Let's start with the era they like to call Victoriana. Below, some wonderfully whiskered MP portraits that are very much of the time.

Happy Birthday to Princess Anne! Here she is seated on the right side at the State Opening of Parliament in 1970 as the ...
15/08/2020

Happy Birthday to Princess Anne! Here she is seated on the right side at the State Opening of Parliament in 1970 as the Queen gave her opening speech. #TowerCelebrates

On This Day in 1913 a group of clergy were protesting against the Cat and Mouse Act. The protest was organised by Leices...
14/08/2020

On This Day in 1913 a group of clergy were protesting against the Cat and Mouse Act. The protest was organised by Leicester vicar Rev. L F Donaldson.

In the police report of the incident there were 13 clergy and a ‘large crowd of sympathisers’ arriving through Stephen’s entrance into Central Hall unannounced demanding to speak to MP's.

Check out the Vote100 Blog for more info about the Cat and Mouse Act and the Suffragette Hunger Strikes http://ow.ly/2kLT50AV4PC

Fashion labels such as Miu Miu have gone back through the centuries for inspiration in their latest collections feat tha...
13/08/2020

Fashion labels such as Miu Miu have gone back through the centuries for inspiration in their latest collections feat that Ye Olde staple- The Ruff! Cromwell (see bust below) thought them starched with the ‘devil’s liquor’! Wonder if they’ve got one in my size...

The summer of 1909 saw the great & the good of the theatrical world turn up en masse at Parliament to demand the end of ...
12/08/2020

The summer of 1909 saw the great & the good of the theatrical world turn up en masse at Parliament to demand the end of theatre censorship. Actress & producer, Lena Ashwell was the only female chosen to give evidence. She was also a founder of the United Suffragists.

Howzat!!!  August 1805 saw the first recorded cricket match take place between these jolly young fellows of Eton & Harro...
11/08/2020

Howzat!!! August 1805 saw the first recorded cricket match take place between these jolly young fellows of Eton & Harrow. I'm sure some of this sepia tinted House of Commons Cricket Team learnt how to ‘Googly’ at one of those famous public schools.

Looking for a new book to settle in to? Try ‘Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights’ by Helen Lewis. One of...
10/08/2020

Looking for a new book to settle in to? Try ‘Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights’ by Helen Lewis. One of the ‘difficult women’ featured is social reformer Caroline Norton who campaigned for many things including the 1839 Custody of Infants Act.

Since July, the first South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) has been taking place & it runs online until August 17th. It's a...
08/08/2020

Since July, the first South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) has been taking place & it runs online until August 17th. It's a collaboration between the Grand Trunk Project & Partition Commemoration Campaign & was launched by TV presenter Anita Rani. Why not check out its final week of events! Below, the original Indian Independence Act 1947.

With Big Ben looking like it had been ravaged by a poltergeist. (little Enfield Haunting nod there!) Many felt its myste...
07/08/2020

With Big Ben looking like it had been ravaged by a poltergeist. (little Enfield Haunting nod there!) Many felt its mysterious breakdown reflected society in the summer of 1976 as a rising youth phenomenon came to the surface in London- we're talking about Punk!!

August 1976 - Big Ben had stopped chiming  but who cared as Britain was experiencing an unprecedented heatwave. The beac...
06/08/2020

August 1976 - Big Ben had stopped chiming but who cared as Britain was experiencing an unprecedented heatwave. The beaches & parks were packed while the Ice Cream Man done a roaring trade. With everyone singing the No 1 hit ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ by Elton John & Kiki Dee.

#OTD in 1976, Big Ben had its first major breakdown, after 100+ years of use. There was serious damage caused to chiming...
05/08/2020

#OTD in 1976, Big Ben had its first major breakdown, after 100+ years of use. There was serious damage caused to chiming mechanism with shattered cogs and wheels. Big Ben was silenced. #TowerSocialHist

Find out more about the chimes of Big Ben in our blog http://ow.ly/MlxU50AM7TR

On This Day in 1914 the UK declared war with Germany, beginning our involvement in WW1. In this diary from the Clerk of ...
04/08/2020

On This Day in 1914 the UK declared war with Germany, beginning our involvement in WW1. In this diary from the Clerk of the House of Commons Sir Courtenay Ilbert, you can see near the bottom “War with Germany declared at 11pm”.

In 1871 the Bank Holiday Act established the first four bank holidays. Originally the first Monday in August was a bank ...
03/08/2020

In 1871 the Bank Holiday Act established the first four bank holidays. Originally the first Monday in August was a bank holiday, and still is in Scotland, it later moved to the last Monday in August. What are your best memories from August Bank Holidays?

On This Day in 1887 Rupert Brooke was born, known for WW1 poetry including ‘The Soldier’. This is a memorial certificate...
03/08/2020

On This Day in 1887 Rupert Brooke was born, known for WW1 poetry including ‘The Soldier’. This is a memorial certificate is for the death of Brigadier General George Baillie-Hamilton in 1917, eldest son of the representative peer 11th Earl of Haddington.

To celebrate Yorkshire Day, here is the Scarborough Pier Act from 1545. This act was passed to ensure the duty of repair...
01/08/2020

To celebrate Yorkshire Day, here is the Scarborough Pier Act from 1545. This act was passed to ensure the duty of repairing and maintaining the pier of Scarborough.

The place to be in July 1963 was the grand opening of a spanking new Victoria Tower Repository. An exhibition of records...
31/07/2020

The place to be in July 1963 was the grand opening of a spanking new Victoria Tower Repository. An exhibition of records followed by tiffin in the House of Lords Restaurant & some spieling from Viscount Hailsham about ‘History, Parliament & Culture’ - good times!!

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Houses Of Parliament
London
SW1A 0PW

Westminster Tube (Jubilee, Circle and District lines)

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Our searchroom at Westminster is open to anyone to come and consult the archives, please contact us in advance to make an appointment.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00

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