Learning Resources

Highlights from the Parliamentary Archives

A guide to family history sources in the Parliamentary Archives, including case studies of people who have traced their ancestors.
 Life Peerages Act 1958From the Parliamentary Collections: Lords reform c1920-1999 
Documents from the Parliamentary Archives marking 50 years of the Life Peerages Act 1958 which allowed the creation of life peers and women peers.

1807 act

Parliament and the British Slave Trade 1600-1807
The Parliamentary Archives webpages marking the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade. Featuring a wealth of archival material, including the enormous anti-slave trade petition from Manchester.

Gunpowder logo

The Gunpowder Plot: Parliament and Treason 1605
A balanced, impartial, view of the plot, using original material from the period held in the Parliamentary Archives and elsewhere.


The Act of Union between England and Scotland 1707
Parliament's website marking the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union in 2007. Featuring a wealth of historical information and interactive versions of key documents.

Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster
Records about the building, including the papers of Charles Barry and AWN Pugin, the drawings of J Hardman & Co, the Benjamin Stone photographs and the records of various government departments responsible for maintaining the new Palace, as well as many other sources.

Citizenship logo

An interactive history of People, Rights and Power in Britain created jointly with the National Archives and funded by the New Opportunities Fund.

 Henry VII signature

Cornerstones of the Constitution
Key Parliamentary records held in the Archives, including the first Act kept at Westminster, the Death Warrant of Charles I, and the Petition of Right.

Old Father Thames

Parliament and the Thames
An exhibition exploring the relationship between the Thames and the Palace of Westminster, including the 'Great Stink' of 1858.

Food list

Refreshing Times
An exhibition looking at a 17th century coronation banquet held in Westminster Hall and the subsequent history of refreshment services in the Houses of Parliament.


Parliament and India, 1858-1947
An exhibition about the relationship between Parliament and India, 1858-1947.

Speaker's procession

The Speaker's Conference of 1944
A short exhibition on the Speakers' Conference on Electoral Reform and Redistribution of Seats under Speaker Clifton Brown which took place in 1944

Smoking in the House of Commons

Smoking in the House of Commons
Did you know the House of Commons was one of the earliest organisations to ban smoking in certain public areas in 1694?

Menai bridge 1919 plan

Thomas Telford, engineer
An exhibition celebrating the work of Thomas Telford, engineer, 250 years after his birth.

Hands of Time clock mechanism

Record Your Place In History Fortnight - Photo Competition
A sample of the entries to the photograph competition held during the Parliamentary Archives Record Your Place in History fortnight in November 2006.


A Sporting Life...
An exhibition looking at aspects of the relationship between the Houses of Parliament and sport.


Called to Active Service
An exhibition looking at the effects of conscription on British society in the First World War.

Victory leaflet

Cease Fire!
Sixty years on, a look at how
VE Day and VJ Day were celebrated in 1945.

Olympic image

Olympic Records
Marking the successful bid by London to host the 2012 Olympics.


Stamp Act
An exhibition on Britain, America and the 1765 Stamp Act.

Handel music

British citizen by Act of Parliament: George Frideric Handel.

 ARP shelter sign

Parliament at War
An exhibition to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1944.

Jennie Lee

Women in Parliament, 1884-1945
A look at the suffragettes and the first women MPs as reflected in our records.

State Opening ticket

State Opening of Parliament
The State Opening of Parliament marks the annual start of the parliamentary session. Find out about the traditions surrounding the State Opening.

Erskine May

Erskine May
The papers of Thomas Erskine May - the codifier of Parliamentary procedure -  purchased by us in 2003.

Mosaic floor of Palace of Westminster

Love & Hate in Parliament
An exhibition mounted to coincide with Archives Awareness Month 2003.  Find out about divorce records in the archives, and what people love about Parliament.

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Related information


New book: Victoria Tower Treasures

A new publication highlighting 150 treasures of the Parliamentary Archives

Victoria Tower Treasures book

Begin your research right now!

Living Heritage

Explore the history, building and collections of Parliament and the impact of Parliament on everyday lives over the centuries