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 […]


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.

The New Liberalism

The disaster of the 1895 election, when the Liberals lost almost a hundred seats, struck a mortal blow at Rosebery's leadership and pointed to the urgent need for a new direction. Although for some it was the party's abandonment of its historic principles of self-help, voluntaryism and constitutional reform that lay at fault, to others it was the failure of the party to embrace the new imperialism. A growing number also felt that Liberalism's failure to formulate an adequate response to the new social problems of industrialisation had undermined its appeal.

Journal articles

Lord Davies of Llandinam Papers

Description of the papers of Lord Davies of Llandinam held at the Welsh Political Archive at the National Library of Wales

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 (2)

Review of Diane Atkinson, Rise Up Women! The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes (Bloomsbury, 2018); Jane Robinson, Hearts and Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote (Doubleday, 2018)

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)

Asquith: friendship, love and betrayal

How did Liberal Prime Minister Asquith’s friendships and relationships affect his political decisions?

Religion and politics in the Edwardian era

The experience of the Hampshire Congregationalists

‘Pacifism is not enough; nor patriotism, either’

The life of Philip Kerr, Lord Lothian

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)

The Distributists and the Liberal Party

An analysis of the Distributists and their impact

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

Cambridge University Liberal Club, 1886–1916

A Lancashire miner in Walthamstow

Liberalism’s Radical Lord Chancellor

Assessing Edward Grey

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

The long shadow of war

Sir Edward Grey and Liberal foreign policy before 1914

A history of by-elections

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

‘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).

Too short a history

Review of Chris Cook, A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900-2001 (Palgrave, 2002).

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

Party agents 1880-1914

Professionalisation and political culture.

Images of Lloyd George

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).

Elegant and concise

Review of David Dutton, A History of the Liberal Party Since 1900 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd edition, 2013).

The strange death of Liberal Birmingham

Morley and the Liberal Party

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

The myth of New Liberalism

‘A Very English Gentleman’

Bitterest allies

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

Scapegoat for Liberalism?

Review of Antony Lentin, Banker, Traitor, Scapegoat, Spy? The Troublesome Case of Sir Edgar Speyer (Haus, 2013).

Three acres and a cow

Liberalism and national identity

The South African war and its effect on the Liberal alliance

Lloyd George, nonconformity and radicalism

I blame Sir Edward Grey

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

The ‘New Liberalism’

Review of George L. Bernstein, Liberalism and Liberal Politics in Edwardian England (Allen & Unwin, 1986).

‘There are things stronger than parliamentary majorities

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

Who did it?

Review of George Dangerfield, The Strange Death of Liberal England (Serif, 1997).

Report: Landslide for the left

Education and the Liberal rank and file in Edwardian England: the case of Sir George White

Liberal Party fortunes in the Isle of Wight 1900-1910

John Sutton Nettlefold, Liberalism and the early town planning movement

Organiser par excellence

The slow death of Liberal Wales 1906 – 1979

A squire in the House of Lords

From left to right? The career of John Morley

A lost Prime Minister?

How did the Empire strike back?

The history of the Lib-Labs

Biography: Lewis Harcourt

Hilaire Belloc and the Liberal revival

Lawyer, politician and judge

The Rainbow Circle and the New Liberalism

Hidden workers of the party

The Liberal Party and the South African War 1899-1902

Hastings in 1900

The Liberal press and the South African War

Report: ‘Methods of barbarism’

The legacy of Gladstone

‘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).

‘Women’s rights and women’s duties’

Review of Ursula Masson, Women’s Rights and Women’s Duties: The Aberdare Women’s Liberal Association, 1891-1910 (South Wales Record Society, 2005).

The 1906 landslide: the legacy

Problems of continuity

The 1906 general election and foreign policy

Economic strategies and the New Liberalism

‘Maistly Scotch’: Campbell-Bannerman and Liberal leadership

‘I am a Liberal as much as a Tory’: Winston Churchill and the memory of 1906

Edwardian Liberalism: ideology and political practice

Review of Ian Packer, Liberal Government and Politics, 1905-15 (Palgrave, 2006).

A Radical Life

Review of Mervyn Jones, A Radical Life: The Biography of Megan Lloyd George (Hutchinson, 1991).

‘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).

Lloyd George’s Flintshire loyalist

A fine and disinterested spirit

Individualist thought and radicalism

James Wood: East Down’s Liberal MP

The two great wartime leaders

Review of Richard Toye, Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness (Macmillan, 2007).

The 1908 Hastings by-election

Rt Hon Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman

British Liberalism and Irish Nationalism

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

‘The strange case of Mr Rigg’

Asquith and the Liberal legacy

Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith

The Liberal Party and womens suffrage, 1866-1918

Report: ‘Taxes that will bring forth fruit’ – The centenary of the People’s Budget of 1909

The ‘People’s Budget’ a century on

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).

The Liberal Party and the New Liberalism

The 1910 general elections

The strange case of Edward Hemmerde

The Lloyd George land taxes

Secular intellectuals

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

Report: 1906 remembered

1906: Blissful dawn?


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 […]

Blissful Dawn? The 1906 Election

On 7 February 1906, the counting of votes was completed in the 1906 general election, and the Liberal Party had obtained a majority of 132 over all other parties. In addition, for the first time, 29 Labour MPs were elected and shortly afterwards the Parliamentary Labour Party was founded. To mark this anniversary, the Corporation […]

“Methods of Barbarism” – Liberalism and the Boer War

“When is a war not a war?” asked the Liberal leader Campbell-Bannerman. “When it is carried on by methods of barbarism in South Africa.” One hundred years after the Boer War began, Professor Denis Judd (University of North London), author of The Boer War and Empire, reviewed the response of Liberalism to the War. Dr […]

Founding the welfare state

A hundred years ago, in 1908, H. H. Asquith’s government introduced the Old Age Pensions Bill. This was just the beginning of a comprehensive Liberal programme of social reform, including national insurance, minimum wages, labour exchanges and compulsory school meals, among much else. Did this programme really represent a decisive break with nineteenth-century notions of […]

‘Taxes that will bring forth fruit’ – The centenary of the People’s Budget of 1909

Following the introduction of Old Age Pensions by the Liberal government of H H Asquith in 1908 and the plans to legislate for limited unemployment and sickness benefit through National Insurance, Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George brought in the means to pay for these measures, as well as for naval rearmament, in his […]

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 […]