The Bodleian Libraries mark Parliament Week, a new national initiative supported by both Houses of Parliament that aims to increase awareness of Parliament and its work as well as encourage participation in the democratic process.
The theme for this year is ‘Stories of Democracy’, and the Libraries will be participating by highlighting items and collections relating to democracy and Parliament in the United Kingdom, from the Magna Carta to the Conservative Party Archive.
Each weekday, the Bodleian website will feature a different aspect of the Libraries’ materials:
- Monday, 31 October – Prime Ministers' Papers
The Bodleian Libraries hold the papers of seven prime-ministers: Disraeli, Asquith, Attlee, Macmillan, Wilson and Callaghan, Heath. These unrivalled resources are complemented by other holdings of modern British political papers within the Bodleian’s Department of Special Collections, which also includes the papers generated by numerous politicians of all parties, public servants, diplomats, journalists and broadcasters from 1840 to the present.
- Tuesday, 1 November – Parliament in the 17th century
Parliament was summoned to sit on four occasions in Oxford. Find out why!
- Wednesday, 2 November – Conservative Party Archive (CPA)
The Conservative Party Archive preserves the records of the major UK political party, offering a unique glimpse into the British democratic process through material dating from the 19th century.
- Thursday, 3 November – Suffrage in the UK
The ability to vote is one of the key aspects of democracy. The road to universal suffrage in the UK is well documented by Bodleian Libraries’ collections, from both the parliamentary and the public sides.
- Friday, 4 November - Magna Carta and Other Political Treasures
The Bodleian has four of the seventeen surviving pre-1300 ‘engrossments’ of Magna Carta, three of which date from 1217 and one from 1225.