The IHR library's collections focus on published primary sources, and the main coverage here is the official records of Parliament, and edited versions. We also hold a substantial collection of guides, bibliographies, periodicals and reference works, including biographical material.
The material is located within the following classmarks in the library. A double letter BB indicates a folio-sized item which are shelved in a separate sequence:
- B.0 British Bibliographies (especially B.044)
- B.2 Collective Biography (especially B.232 Parliamentary biography)
- B.4 British Parliamentary History, including B.401 (Records), B.402 (Secondary works), B.43 Elections and Electoral Reform and B.47 Parliamentary Rights and Procedures
- B.71 Parliamentary records
- B.9 Periodicals
- B.999 Parliamentary Debates
Some of our material is in closed-access, and can be ordered in advance- see further details.
- Medieval Parliament Rolls
- Journals of the House of Lords/Commons
- Parliamentary Debates (including Hansard)
- Votes and Proceedings
- Public Petitions
- Parliamentary Papers
- Divisions Lists
- Statutes and Acts
Description: Records of the English parliament, from the manuscript rolls which survive for the period 1275 to 1504
Description: Formal record of proceedings in both Houses of Parliament, printed from manuscript originals.
Description: Transcript/record of the parliamentary debates
Editions of Debates and Proceedings relating to specific subjects will also be found in relevant collection (e.g. Proceedings and debates of the British Parliaments respecting North America, 1754-1783)
Description: Official summary of the proceedings - issued as broadsheets for public circulation
Description: Formal written request to Parliament from an individual or group of individuals
Description: Voting records
Description: Sessional Papers (Bills, House papers and Command papers), for further detail see UK Parliamentary Papers guide.
IHR holdings: IHR no longer holds individual printed parliamentary papers – the incomplete collection we once had was amalgamated with the Senate House library collection. We have UK Parliamentary Papers online (available onsite or by subscription), printed editions of C18th sessional papers and various subject catalogues/indexes:
Description: Public acts, and some indexes to Local and Private Acts. Acts from 1642-1660 were considered void after the Restoration, and are therefore excluded from the main published editions. They have been compiled into Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum.
We have various published editions at classmarks B/BB.4018 dating from C12th – 1926.
Tracing legislation through parliament: Equal votes for men and women
On 20th May 1867, John Stuart Mill proposed an amendment to the Reform Act to "leave out the word "man" in order to insert the word "person" ". During the Debate, the Conservative MP for Colchester, Edward Kent Karslake, opposed the amendment as "not a lady in Essex had asked him to support the proposition in favour of a female franchise, and believing that the women in other parts of England were equally indifferent on the subject, he came to the conclusion that the women of this country would prefer to remain as they were, being content with the happy homes and advantages they now possessed" (Hansard's Parliamentary Debates (3rd series), 20 May 1867 vol 187 c833). The proposal was defeated by 196 votes to 73.
Debate | Division | Journals of the House of Commons
The Act giving women the same voting rights as men wasn't passed for another 60 years.
Parliamentary Franchise (Women) Bill 1910 (access onsite, by subscription only)
Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928 18 & 19 Geo. 5 c. 12
- Parliamentary Archives, including user guides
- National Archives guide to records of Parliament
- Bond, Maurice, Guide to the Records of Parliament (HMSO, 1971)
- Bond, Maurice, A Short Guide to the Records of Parliament (House of Lords Record Office, 1980)
- Jones, David Lewis, British Parliaments and Assemblies: A Bibliography of Printed Literature (freely available from Parliamentary History website)
- British parliamentary lists, 1660-1800 : a register
- Classmark B.402 for parliamentary histories.
- Parliamentary History journal
- Parliaments, estates and representation = Parlements, états et représentation
- History of Parliament (contain extensive biographical information)
- Who's who of British members of Parliament : a biographical dictionary of the House of Commons based on annual volumes of Dod's Parliamentary companion and other sources
- An encyclopaedia of Parliament
- Parliamentary Archives
- National Archives guide to records of Parliament
- The History of Parliament Online
- Parliament website for contemporary information, including Hansard, Journals, Votes and Proceedings.
- British History online, see Parliamentary and Political sources (some subscription-only content)
- House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (subscription required)
- Senate House Library British Government Publications guide
- Other subscribed electronic resources, such as Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Bibliography of British and Irish History