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Oral History Project


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The History of Parliament's Oral History project is creating a sound archive of people involved in politics at national and constituency level, and will provide a unique record of post-2nd World War British political history. It is inspired by the 1930s project of the History of Parliament's founder, Colonel Josiah Wedgwood, which used a questionnaire to capture from MPs who sat in Parliament from 1885 to 1918 impressions of their political careers. These formed the basis for biographical sketches of each Member.

The project goes well beyond Wedgwood's, however. Initially focussing on parliamentarians, it is intended to interview as many former Members of the House of Commons as possible and some senior Members of the House of Lords. A series of questions, based loosely on Wedgwood's questionnaire, will form the basis for the interviews. The questionnaire has been drawn up in collaboration with academic partners to provide insights into the development of political careers in the second half of the twentieth century, and to illuminate the changing patterns of parliamentary politics, in particular: the professionalization of politics; the history of the constituency surgery and the development of constituency pressures; the changes in parliamentary lobbying; the relationship with constituency parties,