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Gladstone's First Government 1868–74

January 7, 2019 10:17 AM
Originally published by Folkestone and Hythe Liberal Democrats

William Ewart GladstoneOne hundred and fifty years ago last month, in December 1868, William Ewart Gladstone became Prime Minister for the first time. Over the following six years, from 1868 to 1874, his government produced a series of significant and lasting reforms, including nationwide primary school education, the secret ballot, legalisation of some trade union activities and the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland. This record helped build his reputation as the greatest Liberal leader in history.

In the Liberal Democrat History Group's meeting, on Monday 28 January, Professor Jon Parry and Dr David Brooks will discuss the importance and legacy of what might be considered the first Liberal government and the first modern administration. The meeting will take place in the National Liberal Club, 1 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HE.

Jon Parry is Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University, specialising in the history of British politics and political ideas in the nineteenth century. His publications include Democracy and Religion: Gladstone and the Liberal Party, 1867-1875 and The Rise and Fall of Liberal Government in Victorian Britain. Dr Brooks is Emeritus Lecturer in History at Queen Mary University London. He has written extensively on Gladstone and organises the annual 'Gladstone Umbrella' weekend conference at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden.

The meeting will start at 7.00pm, following the Liberal Democrat History Group's AGM at 6.30pm. Papers for the AGM will be distributed with the winter issue of the Journal of Liberal History - a special issue on the first Gladstone government - due to be delivered during the week beginning 14 January.

All are welcome to the speaker meeting, whether or not you're a subscriber. No need to register - just turn up.