The Life and Times of JH Whitley – Halifax Liberal and Speaker of the Commons in the 1920s

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Date / time
Date(s) - 15 September - 16 September
All day

Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield


J.H. Whitley (1866-1935) was Liberal MP for Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire from 1900 to 1928 and Speaker of the House of Commons from 1921 to 1928. He presided over the transition to democracy in Britain and the emergence of Labour as a party of government. In 2011, Whitley’s political papers were deposited at the University of Huddersfield Archives, now housed in the HLF-funded Heritage Quay at the University of Huddersfield.

This conference seeks to explore Whitley’s life and times to produce a collaborative biography. We want to bring together national and local historians, from established scholars to postgraduate students, to explore and analyse Whitley’s life in the context of transitions towards democracy.

Confirmed speakers include Keith Robbins, Keith Laybourn, Greg Patmore, David Hendy and Richard Toye.

More details about the conference

A prestigious prize worth £1000 is available for a postgraduate or early career historians who include research in the JH Whitley collection in their current project and who present at the conference. The prize is open to all fields of early twentieth century history and politics. For details see:

It is the intention to publish a collection of essays from the conference, edited by Keith Laybourn, John Hargreaves and Richard Toye.

For further information please email