Earl of Rosebery (Archibald Philip Primrose), 1847-1929

Rosebery is perhaps the least well-known of the Liberal Prime Ministers, having the misfortune to serve in the office for only a short period, immediately after the extended career of the charismatic Gladstone. He had a difficult relationship with the radicals of his parliamentary party, not because of his social policy attitudes (he was a […]

Gladstone’’s 1886 Manifesto

As appeared in The Times on Monday June 14th 1886.


The first working class representatives within Parliament were known as "Lib-Lab" MPs. They accepted the Liberal whip while exercising the right to utilise their experience to speak freely on labour issues.

Journal articles

Whig, Liberal or Tory?

Review of Simon Kerry, Lansdowne: the Last Great Whig (Unicorn, 2017)

Aristocratic Radical

Review of Roger Swift, Charles Pelham Villiers: Aristocratic Victorian Radical (Routledge, 2017)

Restoring Herbert Gladstone

Review of Kenneth D. Brown, The Unknown Gladstone: The Life of Herbert Gladstone, 1854–1930 (I.B.Tauris, 2018)

The long march of British history

Review of Martin Pugh, State and Society. A Social and Political History of Britain since 1870 (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017)

The long-lived Liberal Party of Canada

An examination of the history of the Canadian Liberal Party.

Votes for Women (1)

Conference fringe meeting, 9 March 2018, with Krista Cowman and Jo Swinson MP; chair: Elizabeth Jewkes

A truly remarkable man – but not a universal man

Review of Richard Davenport-Hines, Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes (William Collins, 2015)

The ‘European mind’ of late Victorian Liberalism

W. E. Gladstone and Joseph Chamberlain

Liberals, free trade and Europe

From Cobden to the Common Market

Radical Joe and Chocolate George

Review of Andrew Reekes, Two Titans, One City: Joseph Chamberlain and George Cadbury (History West Midlands, 2017)

Agents at work

Review of Kathryn Rix, Parties, Agents and Electoral Culture in England 1880–1910 (Boydell Press, 2016)

The Nonconformist mind of Lloyd George

The roots of Lloyd George’s political beliefs

Saint or devil?

Ian Cawood and Chris Upton (eds.), Joseph Chamberlain: International Statesman, National Leader, Local Icon (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

Churchill Archives Centre

Liberal archives at the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge.

Sir Walter Runciman and the Runciman papers at Elshieshields Tower

The life and political career of the Liberal MP Sir Walter Runciman (1847–1937) through the lens of his papers.

Press, politics and culture in Victorian Britain

A comparative review of W. Sydney Robinson, Muckraker: The Scandalous Life and Times of W. T. Stead – Britain’s first investigative journalist (Robson Press, 2012); P. Brighton, Original Spin: Downing Street and the Press in Victorian Britain (I.B. Tauris, 2016); and G. Cordery and J. S. Meisel (eds.), The Humours of Parliament: Harry Furniss’ View of Late Victorian Political Culture (Ohio State UP, 2014).

‘I feel I am placed at a very great disadvantage’

Sir James Whitehead (1834–1917): the parliamentary travails of a Liberal meritocrat.

Cambridge University Liberal Club, 1886–1916

A study in early university political organisation.

Liberalism’s Radical Lord Chancellor

The life and political career of Robert Threshie Reid, Lord Loreburn, 1846–1923.

Assessing Edward Grey

Review of Michael Waterhouse, Edwardian Requiem: A Life of Sir Edward Grey (Biteback, 2013)

A history of by-elections

Review of T. G. Otte and Paul Readman (eds.), By-elections in British politics 1832–1914 (Boydell, 2013)

Minded to slay national ignorance

Review of James Dixon, Out of Birmingham: George Dixon (1820–98), ‘Father of Free Education’ (Brewin Books, 2013)

A hand-to-mouth man?

Review of Patrick Jackson, Harcourt and Son: A Political Biography of Sir William Harcourt, 1827-1904 (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2004).

The diary of a somebody

Review of John Vincent (ed.), The Diaries of Edward Henry Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby (1826-93): A Selection (Leopard’s Head Press, 2003).

‘God made the land for the people’

Review of Patricia Lynch, The Liberal Party in Rural England 1885-1910: Radicalism and Community (Clarendon Press, 2003).

The man who made the weather: Joseph Chamberlain – imperial standard bearer, national leader, local icon

Report of the centenary conference, Birmingham 4–5 July 2014.

Party agents 1880-1914

Professionalisation and political culture.

Images of Lloyd George

How David Lloyd George was portrayed in cartoons throughout his long career.

You don’t have to be mad to work there, but …

Review of J. B. Williams, Worsted to Westminster: The Extraordinary Life of Rev. Dr Charles Leach MP (Darcy Press, 2009).

Lloyd George and the Carnarvon Boroughs, 1890-95

An examination of the history of Lloyd George’s constituency at the time when he first represented it.

The strange death of Liberal Birmingham

An analysis of the decline of Liberalism in nineteenth-century Birmingham.

Morley and the Liberal Party

Review of Patrick Jackson, Morley of Blackburn (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2012).

The myth of New Liberalism

Continuity and change in Liberal politics, 1889-1914.

Bitterest allies

Review of Ian Cawood, The Liberal Unionist Party: A History (I.B. Tauris, 2012).

Liberalism and national identity

An examination of the role played by Liberalism in the Victorian construction of a national identity.

The Reform Club’s Jubilee Ball

The end of an era.

Lloyd George, nonconformity and radicalism

Lloyd George’s career and beliefs from 1890 to 1906.

I blame Sir Edward Grey

Review of John Charmley, Splendid Isolation? Britain and the Balance of Power 1874-1914 (Hodder & Stoughton, 1999).

Out from under the umbrella

The defection of the Liberal Unionists in 1886 was the greatest blow the Liberal Party suffered in the nineteenth century. This article explains what happened and suggests that there are still some unanswered questions.

‘There are things stronger than parliamentary majorities

Review of Alan O’Day, Irish Home Rule 1867-1921 (Manchester University Press, 1998).

The evolution of devolution

Analysis of the lessons from the first Home Rule Bill of 1886.

Organiser par excellence

The career of William Gladstone’s youngest son, Herbert Gladstone (1854-1930).

A squire in the House of Lords

The political life of John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley (1826 – 1902).

From left to right? The career of John Morley

Biography of John Morley (1838-1923), the leading Victorian and Edwardian Liberal who could be seen as both of the left and the right.

A lost Prime Minister?

Biography of Sir Arthur Herbert Dyke Acland (1847-1926).

How did the Empire strike back?

The impact of imperialism on democracy and liberalism in Britrain 1865-1920.

The history of the Lib-Labs

The history of what became known as Lib-Labbery: the representation of labour interests in parliament through the Liberal Party.

The farm workers champion

Biography of one of the first working men to be elected to Parliament, Joseph Arch (1826-1919).

Sir Jerom Murch and the civic gospel in Victorian Bath

Analysis of the municipal record of the leader of Bath’s Victorian Liberals.

Gladstone and Ireland: the legacy

1868 -1974: analysis of Gladstone’s domination of both the Liberal Party and Ireland in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Hidden workers of the party

The professional Liberal agents, 1885-1910

Gladstonian Liberalism according to Gladstone

What were the prevailing principles of the Liberal Party in the late Victorian period?

A ‘sincere, thorough and hearty Liberal’?

Biography of Jabez Balfour, 1843-1916

The legacy of Gladstone

The Grand Old Man’s record.

‘He would not stoop, he did not conquer’

Review of Robert Rhodes James, Rosebery (Phoenix, 1995).

The Liberal Party: Triumph and Disintegration 1886-1929

Review of G. R. Searle, The Liberal Party: Triumph and Disintegration 1886-1929 (Macmillan, 1992).

Sir Edward Watkin and the Liberal cause in the nineteenth century

The life of Liberal MP Edward Watkin, the last of the railway kings.

The high summer of Victorian Liberalism

Review of Ian Bradley, The Optimists: Themes and Personalities in Victorian Liberalism (Faber & Faber, 1980).

‘A dynamic force is a terrible thing’

Review of Martin Pugh, Lloyd George (Longmans, 1988).

A Liberal in power

Review of Roy Jenkins, Asquith (Collins, 1964).

British Liberalism and Irish Nationalism

Review of Eugenio Biagini, British Democracy and Irish Nationalism, 1876-1906 (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

The Liberal Party and womens suffrage, 1866-1918

Analysis of the relationship between the Liberal Party and the campaigns for womens suffrage.

David and Maggie

Diaries and correspondence files are used to examine the courtship between David Lloyd George and Margaret Owen between 1884 and their marriage in 1888.

Report: Fighting Labour – the struggle for radical supremacy in Scotland 1885-1929

Report of the Liberal Democrat History Group meeting at the Scopttish Liberal Democrat Conference, 13 March 2009, with Professor Richard Finlay, Dr Catriona Macdonald and Jim Wallace. Chair: Robert Brown MSP.

Land and nation in England

Review of Paul Readman, Patriotism, National Identity, and the Politics of Land, 1880-1914 (Royal Historical Society, 2008).

Edwardian Liberalism

Review of H. V. Emy, Liberals, Radicals and Social Politics, 1892-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 1973; reprinted 2008).

A distinction without a difference?

An analysis of how the Liberal Unionists maintained a distinctive identity from their Conservative allies, until coalition in 1895.

Secular intellectuals

Review of William C. Lubenow, Liberal Intellectuals and Public Culture in Modern Britain, 1815-1914: Making Words Flesh (Boydell Press, 2010).


The Liberal Party, Unionism and political culture in late 19th and early 20th century Britain

A one-day seminar organised by Newman University College and the Journal of Liberal History. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw great changes in British political culture. The gradual emergence of a mass electorate informed by a popular press, debates about the role of the state in social policy, Imperial upheavals and wars all […]

Fighting Labour: the struggle for radical supremacy in Scotland 1885-1929

The Liberal Democrat History Group is holding its first meeting in Scotland as part of the fringe at the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ spring conference. The meeting will look back at the Liberal Party’s contribution to radical, progressive politics in Scotland and its struggle with Labour in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, culminating in […]