Photograph of William Ewart Gladstone, 1881 (Catalogue reference: COPY 1/54/f631)

This is a brief guide to help you find records of 19th century political history. The National Archives holds many records for this period, including the correspondence and minutes of the major departments, such as the Home Office, the Foreign Office, and the Treasury. We also hold the papers of some prominent politicians. Collections of papers are also held by other archives.

  • What records can I see online?

    • House of Commons parliamentary papers (1715-present)

      Search Parliamentary papers (institutional subscription required) for digitised copies of official papers published by the House of Commons and House of Lords.

    • The Gazette (1665-present)

      Search the London Gazette, on The Gazette website, by date or keyword for official news from home and abroad.

  • What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

    • Records held in archives in the United Kingdom and abroad

      Our catalogue has details of collections held by over 2,500 archives. Search for key political figures in our catalogue and click on the 'record creators' tab to find where records are held.

Did you know?

The nineteenth century was a period of great political and social change, including social reforms affecting education, poverty and public health, and reform of the franchisethe right to vote in Parliamentary elections
The Home Office was created in 1782 to supervise the internal affairs of Great Britain, with particular emphasis on law, order and regulation.

The Foreign Office, formed in 1782 and merged into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1968, was the department responsible for the conduct of British relations with nearly all foreign states.