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.

Operating as usual

January 1990 saw 8,000 ravers put on their big coats & brave the cold to attend the ‘Freedom to Party’ demo in Trafalgar...
29/01/2021

January 1990 saw 8,000 ravers put on their big coats & brave the cold to attend the ‘Freedom to Party’ demo in Trafalgar Square. Protesting against the Entertainment (Increased Penalties) Bill (see Act below) that sought to outlaw their notorious acid house parties.

40 years ago in 1981, 4 breakaway labour politicians known as the ‘Gang of 4’ founded the Social Democratic Party (SDP)....
28/01/2021

40 years ago in 1981, 4 breakaway labour politicians known as the ‘Gang of 4’ founded the Social Democratic Party (SDP). From our collections, here is a photo of the one of these four, David Owen. The remaining 3 were Shirley Williams, Roy Jenkins and Bill Rodgers.

In the Autumn Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery & Museum held the ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking’ exhibition which featured Eddi...
26/01/2021

In the Autumn Coventry’s Herbert Art Gallery & Museum held the ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking’ exhibition which featured Eddie Chamber’s famous collage ‘Destruction of the National Front’ made in the period of the 1979 General Election when NF candidates stood in Coventry (see below). The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry Tate

This letter is from 5 Feb 1858, congratulating the marriage of Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, to ...
25/01/2021

This letter is from 5 Feb 1858, congratulating the marriage of Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia. The wedding which took place on 25 Jan 1858 also popularised the use of Mendelssohn's Wedding March.

On This Day 1965 the nation mourned the passing of Winston Churchill. Ten years earlier to mark his 80th birthday a viny...
24/01/2021

On This Day 1965 the nation mourned the passing of Winston Churchill. Ten years earlier to mark his 80th birthday a vinyl record of his iconic speeches read by famous names was released titled ‘His Finest Hour’ with the likes of Laurence Olivier getting all Churchillian!

The recent Royal Academy Winter Exhibition featured Isaac Julien’s ‘Lessons of the Hour - Who Killed Colin Roach’. The a...
22/01/2021

The recent Royal Academy Winter Exhibition featured Isaac Julien’s ‘Lessons of the Hour - Who Killed Colin Roach’. The artwork explored the death of a young black man in police custody in 1983. Below a Parliamentary question calling for a public inquiry. Royal Academy of Arts Black Cultural Archives

We’re hiring! Our Prepare & Move Project Team are looking for 2 Collection Care Assistants to complete their team tasked...
22/01/2021

We’re hiring! Our Prepare & Move Project Team are looking for 2 Collection Care Assistants to complete their team tasked with packing up all our collections items for a future move. More info and how to apply can be found here: http://ow.ly/39wl50D7AY5

Finishing off this theatrical ‘Inside a Collection’ is a letter from the playwright George Bernard Shaw. The letter is f...
21/01/2021

Finishing off this theatrical ‘Inside a Collection’ is a letter from the playwright George Bernard Shaw. The letter is from 1909 to 1st Viscount Samuel about the Committee on Stage Plays Censorship.

Learn more about this on our blog http://ow.ly/FVLE50D6ofc

Tomorrow see’s the first episode of Channel 4 hotly anticipated new drama ‘It’s A Sin’ chronicling London’s gay communit...
21/01/2021

Tomorrow see’s the first episode of Channel 4 hotly anticipated new drama ‘It’s A Sin’ chronicling London’s gay community in the eighties & the effect of the AIDS epidemic. See below, Norman Fowler's famous 1986 House of Commons speech on the crisis. Stonewall

Next up for our National Theatre-themed 'Inside a Collection', a 1626 petition to close the Blackfriars Playhouse! On 11...
20/01/2021

Next up for our National Theatre-themed 'Inside a Collection', a 1626 petition to close the Blackfriars Playhouse! On 11 March 1626, the Commons journal notes the Lord Chamberlain 'though it belong not to his Place, yet he will recommend the Petition to his Majesty' #TowerJewels

In January 1949 a National Theatre was approved by Parliament which Kenneth Tynan called ‘The Giant Step’. To mark this ...
19/01/2021

In January 1949 a National Theatre was approved by Parliament which Kenneth Tynan called ‘The Giant Step’. To mark this we're having a theatrical themed ‘Inside a Collection’ week. Starting with the 1969 National Theatre Act that drew a curtain on the 20 year project. National Theatre

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States of America”Head over to the Parliamentary Archives blog to rea...
19/01/2021

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States of America”
Head over to the Parliamentary Archives blog to read about past Presidential visits to the Palace of Westminster, including great photos, speeches and collections held in the archive! http://ow.ly/y7x250Dc71A

When it comes to gutsy politicians Barbara Castle was in a league of her own. In January 1969, as Employment Secretary s...
18/01/2021

When it comes to gutsy politicians Barbara Castle was in a league of her own. In January 1969, as Employment Secretary she attempted to face down the then monolithic Trade Unions with her White Paper, ‘In Place of Strife’ proposing major reforms within the movement.

We’re hiring! Our Prepare & Move Project Team are looking for 2 Collection Care Assistants to complete their team tasked...
18/01/2021

We’re hiring! Our Prepare & Move Project Team are looking for 2 Collection Care Assistants to complete their team tasked with packing up all our collections items for a future move. More info and how to apply can be found here: http://ow.ly/TFLa50D7AOe

Put the kettle on, settle down and have a nice virtual cuppa and a chat. Get rid of those Monday Blues and enjoy Samarit...
18/01/2021

Put the kettle on, settle down and have a nice virtual cuppa and a chat. Get rid of those Monday Blues and enjoy Samaritans Brew Monday. From our collection, this lovely teapot designed by Augustus Pugin.

‘Exit Stage Lord Chamberlain’ is the final part of our Theatre Censorship trilogy of blogs. As the 1968 Theatres Act is ...
15/01/2021

‘Exit Stage Lord Chamberlain’ is the final part of our Theatre Censorship trilogy of blogs. As the 1968 Theatres Act is passed, angry young playwrights rejoice & the days of the Lord Chamberlain’s ‘blue pencil’ are simply no more. Let the good times roll! http://ow.ly/uSkN50D7rmJ

This letter from January 1913 is from the founder of Labour Party, Keir Hardie. He requested use of the Grand Committee ...
15/01/2021

This letter from January 1913 is from the founder of Labour Party, Keir Hardie. He requested use of the Grand Committee Room in Westminster Hall for a “large number of representative working women” of the women’s suffrage movement which was granted by the Speaker. #TowerWomen

Finishing off Awe Week with the Habeas Corpus, an awe-inspiring document that changed law. It was passed in 1679, during...
14/01/2021

Finishing off Awe Week with the Habeas Corpus, an awe-inspiring document that changed law. It was passed in 1679, during the reign of Charles II, and gave the courts the power to determine the legality of imprisonments. #TowerJewels

We’re hiring! Our Prepare & Move Project Team are looking for 2 Collection Care Assistants to complete their team tasked...
14/01/2021

We’re hiring! Our Prepare & Move Project Team are looking for 2 Collection Care Assistants to complete their team tasked with packing up all our collections items for a future move. More info and how to apply can be found here: http://ow.ly/7wbU50D7Ayf

Our next awe-inspiring offering is the 1806 Manchester Petition. The nine sheets of parchment, over 5 metres long, inclu...
13/01/2021

Our next awe-inspiring offering is the 1806 Manchester Petition. The nine sheets of parchment, over 5 metres long, include over 2,000 signatures from men and women in support of the Foreign Slave Trade Abolition Bill! #TowerJewels

Let us welcome you to the world of Awe!!! This month’s themed week (or Awe Week if you like) celebrates that feeling of ...
12/01/2021

Let us welcome you to the world of Awe!!! This month’s themed week (or Awe Week if you like) celebrates that feeling of wonder when you first glimpse an historical item of a great magnitude. To kick off proceedings we present...The 1636 Book of Common Prayer (Awesome!)

In January 1965, CARD (Campaign Against Racial Discrimination) was formed in response to the 1965 Race Relations Act's f...
11/01/2021

In January 1965, CARD (Campaign Against Racial Discrimination) was formed in response to the 1965 Race Relations Act's failure to combat discrimination in housing and employment. This letter suggests amendments to the 1968 Bill and calls on members to write to their MPs.

Who enjoyed the Blackadder II repeats recently shown on the Beeb? The Curtis/Elton Tudor Court classic was first shown b...
08/01/2021

Who enjoyed the Blackadder II repeats recently shown on the Beeb? The Curtis/Elton Tudor Court classic was first shown back in Jan 1986 featuring Miranda Richardson’s gloriously demented portrayal of Elizabeth I. Below the 1559 MS Journal when she dissolved Parliament.

It is the 75th anniversary of the 1st UN Assembly meeting on the 10 January 1946. It was held at the Methodist Central H...
07/01/2021

It is the 75th anniversary of the 1st UN Assembly meeting on the 10 January 1946. It was held at the Methodist Central Hall, London with representatives of the 51 founding nations. From our collection the commentary paper on the report from this 1st meeting. #TowerCommemorates

Been following the fashionista's lately?? Well the humble fleece is featuring in many a winter collection. This Archive ...
06/01/2021

Been following the fashionista's lately?? Well the humble fleece is featuring in many a winter collection. This Archive have been happily rocking this attire for yonks to combat the Victoria Tower’s air-conditioned chill. Below a very popular grey number. 100% Gorpcore!!

From our Main Papers Large Parchment collection, this petition from 1641 from the ‘knights, gentry, ministry, freeholder...
05/01/2021

From our Main Papers Large Parchment collection, this petition from 1641 from the ‘knights, gentry, ministry, freeholders and inhabitants’ of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire. This 380 yr old petition has 4 pages of signatures, some with better handwriting than others! #TowerQuirks

In January 1854, Marylebone Free Library opened its doors - with free admission 10am to 10pm every day except Sunday! He...
04/01/2021

In January 1854, Marylebone Free Library opened its doors - with free admission 10am to 10pm every day except Sunday! Here is the 1850 Public Libraries Act, which first gave town councils the power to establish public libraries and museums

Happy New Year from the Parliamentary Archives! Hopefully you have a chance to wrap up warm and go on a bracing New Year...
01/01/2021

Happy New Year from the Parliamentary Archives!

Hopefully you have a chance to wrap up warm and go on a bracing New Year's Day walk. For inspiration, here's an 1818 plan of Walkhampton on the western side of Dartmoor

On This Day was the birth of the Jacobite known as Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1720. From our collection, this House of Lor...
31/12/2020

On This Day was the birth of the Jacobite known as Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1720. From our collection, this House of Lords Journal from 1745, looking at the “scandalous and treasonable Declarations” dispersed by the prince titled the ‘pretender declaration’.

The festive season is the perfect time to watch some classic British films from a bygone era. Many a Celebrations tin bl...
30/12/2020

The festive season is the perfect time to watch some classic British films from a bygone era. Many a Celebrations tin bloat has been alleviated by the wholesome antics of Cliff & the gang in ‘Summer Holiday’. From our collections the man himself pictured in his pomp.

We find ourselves in that familiar post-Xmas hinterland towards New Year. A tricky time to schedule a tweet to keep the ...
29/12/2020

We find ourselves in that familiar post-Xmas hinterland towards New Year. A tricky time to schedule a tweet to keep the coals burning...So, I scratch my head, make a third cup of tea & then decide it's time to unleash Black Rod’s Ceremonial Sword circa 1978...Perfect

Feeling a bit lost between Christmas and New Year? How about lighting some candles and resurrecting the old tradition of...
28/12/2020

Feeling a bit lost between Christmas and New Year? How about lighting some candles and resurrecting the old tradition of Christmas Ghost Stories. Here's something spooky from 1739, a dialogue between the Irish poet William Dunkin and the ghost of his grandmother

Happy Boxing Day! Here is the original Bank Holidays Act from 1871 which introduced the first four bank holidays includi...
26/12/2020

Happy Boxing Day! Here is the original Bank Holidays Act from 1871 which introduced the first four bank holidays including the August Bank Holiday and Boxing Day.

Merry Christmas! Relax and enjoy yourself, however you plan to celebrate this year. For Parliament it was still business...
25/12/2020

Merry Christmas! Relax and enjoy yourself, however you plan to celebrate this year. For Parliament it was still business as usual, as you can see in this House of Commons Journal for 1648 dated 25 December.

A mosaic star, created by our office manager @star_glazer11, emerges from the shadows to wish all our followers a happy ...
25/12/2020

A mosaic star, created by our office manager @star_glazer11, emerges from the shadows to wish all our followers a happy Christmas and a brighter 2021.

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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.

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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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