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LSE Archives in Parliament

Campaign poster featuring William Beveridge

Campaign poster featuring William Beveridge, former LSE director, campaigning as a Liberal candidate in the 1945 General Election.

A letter from Emmeline Pankhurst to Keir Hardie, who was to go on to become the first Labour leader, is just one of the items LSE Archives has contributed to an exhibition of political archives that will take place at the Houses of Parliament this week.

In the letter Pankhurst urges Hardie to return to Merthyr Tydfil to campaign for the constituency seat during the 1906 election. She feared that his absence from the constituency would cost him the seat and that the suffragettes would lose his crucial supportive voice in Parliament. She writes, "We must fight as for life."

Sue Donnelly of LSE Archives said: "Political archives can tell us a huge amount about the formation and characters of the political parties. They show how policies developed and, importantly, whether they were successes or failures. We hope this exhibition in the Palace of Westminster will make MPs, peers and party staff more aware of the rich resources which are available."

The exhibition, entitled Turning Points, focuses on the three key twentieth century elections of 1906, 1945 and 1979.

LSE Archives is home to the Liberal Party archive and has provided a number of items from this for the exhibition including the election addresses of Winston Churchill, Liberal Candidate for North West Manchester in 1906 and William Beveridge, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1945.

LSE Archives has also supplied the text of the Liberal Party Victory Song. This was probably composed for the 1945 general election. Despite the anthem the number of Liberal Party MPs fell to 12.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the LSE, the Bodleian Library Oxford, which holds the Conservative Party archive, and the People's History Museum which holds the Labour Party Archive. It runs 8 - 12 December. Although the exhibition is not open to the public, it can be seen online at http://www.turningpointsexhibition.info/| 


9 December 2009