By Jutta Seibert
You asked for it and we delivered: Falvey recently acquired permanent access to the digital archive of UK Parliamentary Papers. The archive comprises documents from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, as well as some earlier papers. The twenty-first century collection is not available to the Villanova community, but some of the papers from this period are freely available through the UK’s Parliamentary Archives.
Research applications are endless given the scope of the archive. Its contents hold wide appeal for scholars from a range of disciplines, including political science, history, and Irish studies. They cover a vast sweep of events tracing the political discourse on matters large and small. Expect to find sessional papers, acts, bills, agreements, public petitions, and reports among the archived documents. Among the many issues and events covered figure universal suffrage, the slave trade and its abolition, the poor laws, child labor, mandatory vaccination, a long list of wars, national trade statistics on products such as cotton, coffee, tea, sugar, timber, and rubber, government funded expeditions such as the ill-fated arctic expedition led by Sir John Franklin, British overseas colonies and their struggles for independence, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland to name just a few topics.
The archive offers an advanced search interface and search facets that will narrow results by date, document type, Parliament chamber, and subject. Document features, such as maps, plans, tables, graphs, and illustrations, are indexed and easy to identify. Documents can be downloaded in PDF format.
This archive does not generate document citations, but the Details view includes common and Cockton titles, date, series, document number, and a permalink; in short, all the necessary elements. I am including below a selection of documents that illustrate the broad sweep of archival sources included in this archive.
A Sampling of Documents from the UK Parliamentary Papers Archive
- The Belfast Agreement: An Agreement Reached at the Multi-Party Talks on Northern Ireland. Command Papers 3883, 1997/98.
Better known as Good Friday Agreement.
- Children’s Employment Commission. First Report of the Commissioners. Mines. London: William Clowes and Sons, 1842.
- Select Committee on State of Children Employed in Manufactories of United Kingdom. Report of the Minutes of Evidence. House of Commons Papers 397, 1816.
- Reports from Protectors of Slaves in Colonies of Demerara, Berbice, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Cape of Good Hope and Mauritius. House of Commons Papers 262, 1830-31.
- Treaties between Great Britain and Portugal, France, Russia, Netherlands, Sardinia, Austria, Prussia, United States of America, and Saxony, 1815, on Territories, Commerce, and Slave Trade (Class B.). House of Commons Papers 2, 1816.
- Bill to prevent Spreading of Infection of Small-Pox (as amended by Committee). Bills and Acts 287, 1808.
- Vaccination Acts (repeal). A Bill to Repeal the Vaccination Acts. Bills and Acts 204, 1911.
- Papers relating to Blockade of Ports of Confederate State. Command Papers 2931, 1862.
- Account of Quantity of Refined Sugar and Sugar Candy imported into United Kingdom, 1848-68 […]. House of Commons Papers 191, 1868-69.
- Bill for Relief of H.M. Roman Catholic Subjects (as amended by Committee). Bills and Acts 104, 1829.
- An Act for making a Railway from London to Southampton. [25th July 1834.] Bills and Acts 3, 1834.
Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.