Robes and Ritual: Preparations for Women’s Arrival in the House of Lords

Guest post by Duncan Sutherland Background¬† Prior to a debate on a motion to admit women to the House of Lords in 1930, the newly-created Lord Noel-Buxton was introduced. The introduction ceremony involved the new peer and his two supporters (current members of the House) wearing bicorn hats and scarlet robes trimmed with gold and miniver, processing behind Garter King of Arms and the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod. He presented his Letters Patent (creating his peerage) and the Writ of Summons summoning him to parliament, which were read aloud. After taking the oath and signing the Roll, Lord … Continue reading Robes and Ritual: Preparations for Women’s Arrival in the House of Lords

Official Typist to Parliament

If you’ve seen the movie Suffragette, you’ll remember the scene when Maud gives evidence in a House of Commons committee room about her life in the laundry. You may also remember how overwhelming male her audience was. The committee, chaired by Lloyd George, is made up of MPs who were all men in this period. Everyone else in the room is male too, except for Maud’s friends at the back of course, and – a female typist. The typist is there sitting near the front, her fingers tapping away at a keyboard, taking down the minutes of evidence. You only … Continue reading Official Typist to Parliament

White gloves and hats: a woman Clerk in the House of Commons

Clerks are the senior staff in many of the different offices in the House of Commons and House of Lords which support the work of the chamber and committees. During the Second World War, three women were appointed temporary Clerks in the House of Commons, in order to release men for war service, however by 1945 they had all departed. There were no more female Clerks until Jacqy Beston (now Jacqy Sharpe) and Alda Milner-Barry were appointed in 1969.¬† Jacqy Sharpe retired in 2015 after a long and successful career in the Clerk’s department, and shares her memories below. *** … Continue reading White gloves and hats: a woman Clerk in the House of Commons