Modern Social Reforms timeline - Houses of History

Modern Social Reforms timeline - Houses of History

This animated timeline provides a fun way to explore the story of Parliament and democracy. Travel through time and witness how social and political changes shaped the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Resources quick links


This interactive timeline allows students to learn about modern democratic reforms in the UK that have given voting rights to all adults, reduced the voting age to 18, ended the system of hereditary peers in the House of Lords, and devolved power to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly.

Students can:


  • Follow an historical chronology of 16 significant moments from modern political history in the last 180 years.
  • Create a project from a template of a newspaper article and add images and quotations collected from the timeline.
  • Read longer authoritative articles as they travel through the centuries and find recommended links to trusted websites to find out more.

Time required: 30 minutes plus optional writing activity

Learning outcomes

All students should:


  • Understand an historical chronology and, using this, learn about key political changes from the 1832 Reform Act to the 1999 laws to devolve power to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • Learn how the people of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland campaigned for votes for all men and women during 180 years from 1832 to 1999
  • Evaluate a range of historical sources through images, animations, articles and links to further information on recommended websites.

Most students should:


  •  Learn about the changing relationship between the ‘nobles’ and the ‘common people’ in Parliament, and the development of democracy.
  • Start to understand the different histories and changing relationships through time of the peoples of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  • Tackle a writing challenge as part of their coursework or homework

For teachers, there are more detailed links to the curriculum. 

Practical information

Houses of History requires Flash version 10 or later. You can download this free software and the latest version is: Flash plug-in (link opens in new window).

Access the Help screen by clicking the button marked '?' at the top right of the resource.
The resource is best viewed with a fast internet connection due to the number of images and animations.


Image credits

Image credits

Picture credits and copyright information for images in the modern social reform timeline.

pdf file - 39 KB

Writing challenge: Modern social reform

Writing challenge: Modern social reform

A writing challenge inviting students to play the role of a newspaper journalist reporting on the Fourth Reform Act.

pdf file - 58 KB
PDF download

Related teaching resources


Women and the Vote timeline - Houses of History