University Libraries

British Parliamentary Papers Guide


British parliamentary papers are similar to United States congressional publications - they document the lawmaking activities at the national level for the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Like the US Congress, the British Parliament is divided into two houses. However, this is where the similarities end. The House of Lords and House of Commons each have distinct histories and purposes, neither of which is analogous to the US Congress. For more information on Parliament, see http://www.parliament.uk/works/parliament.cfm.

Votes & Proceedings

These are the daily record of what was done, not said, in parliament.
Comparable to the Calendar of the House of Representatives.

House of Commons

  • 1660-1685?
    Votes of the House of Commons perused & signed to be printed...
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Rare Books Quarto 942.066 G798
  • 1681
    Votes of the House of Commons, at Oxford...
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement Mfilm 1771 690:8
  • 1689?
    Votes of the House of Commons
    In the Library: TC Wilson Rare Books Quarto 328.42 .G792
  • 1828-1841
    Mirror of Parliament for the ... session of the ...Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement J301 .H18
  • 1998- present
    House of Commons Votes & Proceedings

House of Lords

  • 1856, 1881-1887
    Minutes of Proceedings
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Sub-Basement Folio J301 .J2
  • 1912
    Minutes of Proceedings-House of Lords
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Folio 929.2 G799l
  • 1998- present
    Minute & Order Papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Folio 929.2 G799l

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Journals

  • Official and permanent legal record of the proceedings of Parliament.
  • Record only what was done, not what was said.
  • Similar to the Daily Digest of the U S. Congressional Record
    • In the House of Commons, the Votes & Proceedings are consolidated into the Journals on a sessional basis and become the authoritative record of the decisions of the House.
    • In the House of Lords, the Journals are compiled from the Minutes of Proceedings.
  • The House of Commons and the House of Lords met together until the 1400s
  • Early original Journals are in Latin until the beginning of the 1600s
  • Does not contain speeches except from 1580-1620
  • Indexes can be found in the last volume of the session starting with volume 30 (1765)
  • Prior to 1801 the Journals also included the Sessional Papers
  • General indexes provide dates in regnal years (one source on converting from regnal years to an ordinary date can be found at A medieval English calendar.

House of Commons

  • 1278-1503
    Rotuli Parliamentorum; ut et petitiones, et placita in Parliamento
    In the Library: TC Law Library Rare Books Flat J301 .H2 1767x
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Rare Books Folio 942.03 G79r
    In the Library: TC Law Library Storage (Microforms) Mfilm Z2011 .E34x 1984 reel 3467, no. 1
  • 1509-1699, 1830
    British History Online
  • 1547-1986/87
    Journals of the House of Commons (includes index)
    In the Library: TC Wilson Annex J301 .K21x
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Rare Books Folio 328.421 G79cm

House of Lords

  • 1278-1503
    Rotuli Parliamentorum; ut et petitiones, et placita in Parliamento
    In the Library: TC Law Library Rare Books Flat J301 .H2 1767x
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Rare Books Folio 942.03 G79r
    In the Library: TC Law Library Storage (Microforms) Mfilm Z2011 .E34x 1984 reel 3467, no. 1
  • 1509-1764, 1776-1793, 1830-1832
    British History Online
  • 1509-1988
    Journals of the House of Lords (includes indexes)
    In the Library: TC Wilson Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement Folio J301 .J22
  • 1998- present
    Minute & Order Papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Folio 929.2 G799l

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Journal Indexes

House of Commons

  • 1154-1399
    Historical Introductions to the Rolls Series
    HeinOnline
    In the Library: TC IN STORAGE MN Lib Access Ctr 9ZAR01D24S06TJH
    In the Library: TC Law Library DA175 .S88
  • 1547-1900
    Journals of the House of Commons General Index
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .K21x 1547-1900 (Microcard)
  • 1688-2005
    Parliamentary Papers
  • 1930-1980
    General Index to, or Digest of...
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .K21x

House of Lords

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Debates

  • British debates are the official records of what is said (transcripts of the speeches and discussions) in Parliament.
  • They are comparable to the Congressional Record.
  • Since 1803 the debates have been printed in six series.
  • Prior to 1909 the Debates were unofficial and not verbatim records and the House of Lords debates were published as an appendix to the House of Commons Debates.
  • There are indexes at the end of each volume and indexing is by subject and by speaker.
  • Starting with the third series in 1830/31 indexes can be found at the end of each session.

House of Commons & House of Lords

  • - 1660
    Parliamentary or Constitutional History of England from the Earliest Times to the Dissolution of the Convention Parliament that Restored King Charles II (also known as Old Parliamentary History)
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement (Gov Docs) J301 .H18x 1751
  • 1066-1803
    Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England: from the Norman Conquest, in 1066 to the year 1803
    In the Library: Check MNCAT
    Parliamentary History of England from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, from which last-mentioned epoch it is continued downwards in the work entitled "Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates."
    In the Library: Check MNCAT
  • 1667-1694
    Debates of the House of Commons from the year 1667 to the year 1694 (also known as Grey’s Debates and complements Old Parliamentary History)
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement J301 .H24
  • 1668-1742
    Collection of the Parliamentary Debates in England : from the year 1668 to the present time
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement (Gov Docs) J301 .H19x 1739
    In the Library: TC Law Library Rare Books J301 .H2 1742x
  • 1680-1743
    History and Proceedings of the House of Commons from the Restoration to the Present Times
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement J301.K2 H56
  • 1743-1774
    Debates and Proceedings of the British House of Commons
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement J301 .H315
  • 1751-1761
    Parliamentary or Constitutional History of England being a Faithful Account of all the Most Remarkable Transactions in Parliament from the Earliest Times
    In the Library: TC Law Library Storage (Microforms) Mfilm Z2011 .E34x 1984 reel 3496, no. 1
  • 1774-1787
    Parliamentary Register, or History of the Proceedings and Debates of the House of Commons and the House of Lords - complements Cobbett’s by printing a fuller version of some material.
    In the Library: Check MNCAT
  • 1803 - present
    Parliamentary Papers
    Hansard 1803 - 2005
    Parliamentary Debates (Hansards) 1989 - present
  • 1803-1908
    Parliamentary Debates - Also known as Cobbett's or Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates.
    In the Library: Check MNCAT
  • 1829-1908
    In the Library: Check MNCAT
  • 1909-1984/85 (includes index)
    In the Library: TC Wilson Government Publications Library Row DD
  • 1919-1942/1943
    In the Library: TC IN STORAGE: MN Lib Access Ctr 328.422 G786ec
  • 1970-1981
    In the Library: TC IN STORAGE: MN Lib Access Ctr 328.422 G786ec
  • 1988/89-2001/2002
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (Reference) Mfiche Microfiche Cabinet 9 & 10

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Debate Indexes

House of Commons & House of Lords

  • 1066-1955
    Bibliography of Parliamentary Debates of Great Britain
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Z2009 .G74x 1956
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Reference Z2009 .G74x 1956
    In the Library: TC Law Library Z2009 .G745x 1956
  • 1803-1830
    General Index to the First and Second series of Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates: forming a digest of the recorded proceedings of Parliament, from 1803 to 1830
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) J301.H25 G4x 1970
  • 1803-1830
    19th Century Masterfile: Hansards Index to Debates of Parliamentary Debates of Great Britain (House of Commons only)
  • 1989/1990- present
    British Parliamentary Papers Index
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General CD-ROM) J301.H6 B75x CD-ROM
  • 1988- present
    Index to the House of Commons Debates

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Sessional Papers

  • The parliamentary papers of the House of Commons, also called the Sessional Papers or "Blue Books", began in 1801.
  • Not every Sessional paper gets printed.
  • The Journals between 1541 and 1730 have reports of the committees or government department and are indexed under the headings "printing" and "reports of the Committees".
  • Prior to 1833 Command Papers were usually printed in the Journal of the House of Commons.
  • Prior to 1921 almost all important government documents were presented to parliament by Royal Commissions or government departments. Beginning in 1921 only documents that pertained to pending legislation were presented.
  • Sessional papers include bills (public and private); reports (of Commissioners and Committees); and accounts and papers and command papers (non-Parliamentary papers printed "by command").
  • The indexes to the Sessional papers provide you with a citation to help you locate the document consisting of
    • a sessional year(s) (usually overlapping).
    • Next in parenthesis a number which is printed at the bottom left hand corner of the title page of the report within the physical volume.
    • Then comes a Roman numeral, which indicates the specific volume within the set and last is a page number indicating the page on which the report would start if the volume were continuously paged (which they are not).
    • An example is 1912/13 (214) I. 722
  • Command Papers are presented to both the House of Lords and the House of Commons but only printed in the House of Commons Sessional Papers.
  • All papers except the Command Papers (also known as the white or green papers) begin with a new series of numbers for each session. See below for Command Paper numbering.

Command Paper Numbering System

  • 1833-1869
    1-4222
  • 1870-1899
    C. 1-C. 9550
  • 1900-1918
    Cd. 1-Cd. 9239
  • 1919-1956
    Cmd. 1-Cmd. 9889
  • 1957-1985/1986
    Cmnd. 1-Cmnd. 9927
  • 1986/1987 - present
    Cm. 1 -

House of Commons

  • 1715-1800
    House of Commons Sessional Papers of the Eighteenth century
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Folio J301 .K625 1975
  • 1731-1918 (includes index)
    Sessional Papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement J301 .K5 (Microcard)
  • 1919-1977/1978
    Sessional Papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement J301 .K6
  • 1979/1980- present
    British Parliamentary Papers: House of Commons Sessional Papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Mfiche Microfiche Cabinet 9 & 10
  • 1994-
    Official Documents-TSO

House of Lords

  • 1678-1714
    The manuscripts of the House of Lords. (Reprints many Lords Sessional Papers for this time period)
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement DA25.M2 H8 1887
  • 1990/91- present
    British Parliamentary Papers: House of Lords Sessional Papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Mfiche Microfiche Cabinet 9 & 10

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Sessional Paper Indexes

House of Commons

  • 1688-2005
    Parliamentary Papers
  • 1696-1834
    Hansard's Catalogue and Breviate of Parliamentary Papers, 1696-1834
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .K62 1953
    In the Library: TC Law Library Rare Books (Reference) J301 .K62 1953
  • 1696-1899
    Irish University Press Series of British Parliamentary Papers.[General] Index.
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio Z2019 .I74x 1968
    In the Library: TC IN STORAGE: MN Lib Access Ctr Z2019 .I74
  • 1701-1750
    List of House of Commons sessional papers, 1701-1750
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .K8x 1968
  • 1801-1852
    General Index to the Accounts and Papers, Reports of Commissioners, Estimates, &c., &c .Printed by order of the House of Commons, or presented by command, 1801-1852.
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .K6 1801/52
  • 1801-1900
    Catalogue of Parliamentary Papers, 1801-1900
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Reference Quarto Z2009 .K55
  • 1801-1900
    Subject catalogue of the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, 1801-1900
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) DA530 .C63x 1988
  • 1801-1900
    British House of Commons sessional papers, 1801-1900. A descriptive summary
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) J301 .K613x 1801-1900 1953a
  • 1801-1944/45
    Indexes of British parliamentary papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) CD-ROM J301.M3x 1997 CD-ROM
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Collection) J301.M3x 1997 Guide
  • 1806-1812
    Arrangement of the papers printed by order of the House of Commons, sess. 1806-1807-1812, specifying the number of volumes :and containing their outside labels : the inside title pages : a table of contents of each volume : and, general alphabetical index to the whole : together with a table and index of the public general acts passed.
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement Folio 328.424 G79ar 1806-12
  • 1833-1899
    Select List of British Parliamentary Papers, 1833-1899
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) J301 .M3 1969
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) J301 .M3 1953
    In the Library: TC Law Library J301 .M3 1953
  • 1852/53-1857
    General Index to the Bills, Reports, Estimates, Accounts and Papers, printed by order of the House of Commons: 1852/53-1857.
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .K6 1852/57
  • 1852-1869
    General index to the bills, reports, estimates, accounts and papers printed by order of the House of Commons, 1852-1869
    In the Library: TC Law Library J301 .G453x 1968
  • 1880-1889
    General alphabetical index to the bills, reports, estimates, accounts, and papers, printed by order of the House of Commons, and to the papers presented by command, 1880-89 ; with an appendix, containing a numerical list of the commercial reports (old series), 1880-89.
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .K6 1880/89
  • 1989/1990- present
    British parliamentary papers index [computer file] : BPP
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) CD-ROM J301.H6 B75x CD-ROM
  • 1890-1899
    General alphabetical index to the bills, reports, estimates, accounts, and papers, printed by order of the House of Commons and to the papers presented by command, 1890-99
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .K6 1890/99
  • 1900-1909
    General alphabetical index to the bills, reports, estimates, accounts and papers, printed by order of the House of Commons, and to the papers presented by command, 1900-09
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .K6 1900/09
  • 1900-1948/1949
    General index to the bills, reports and papers printed by order of the House of Commons and to the reports and papers presented by command, 1900 to 1948-49.
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Quarto J301 .K6 1900-1948 Ind
    In the Library: TC Law Library J301 .M3 1960
  • 1901-1910
    Catalogue of parliamentary papers 1901-1910 :being a supplement to Catalogue of parliamentary papers 1801-1900
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Reference Quarto Z2009 .K55x 1912
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Ames Quarto Z2009 .K55x 1912
  • 1910-1919
    General alphabetical index to the bills, reports, estimates, accounts and papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) J301 .K6 1910/19
  • 1911-1920
    Catalogue of parliamentary papers, 1911-1920 :being the second decennial supplement to the Catalogue of parliamentary papers, 1801-1900.
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Reference Quarto Z2009 .K55 1911/20
  • 1920-1928/1929
    General alphabetical index to the bills, reports, estimates, accounts and papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) J301 .K6 Index 1920/29
  • 1929-1943/1944
    General alphabetical index to the bills, reports, estates, accounts and papers printed by order of the House of commons and to the papers presented by command, 1929 to 1943-44
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) J301 .K6 1929/44
    In the Library: TC Law Library Z2009 .G46x 1946
  • 1950-1958/1960
    General alphabetical index to the bills, reports and papers :printed by order of the House of Commons and to the reports and papers presented by command, 1950 to 1958-59.
    In the Library: TC Law Library J301 .G74x 1909
  • 1959/1960-1968/1969
    General alphabetical index to the bills, reports and papers printed by Order of the House of Commons and to the reports and papers Presented by Command 1959-60 to 1968-69
    In the Library: TC Law Library J301 .G745x 1975
  • 1985/86-1987/88
    Sessional papers.Monthly index
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Mfiche 3
  • 1994/1995-1995/1996
    Sessional Index for Session...
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Mfiche Microfiche Cabinet 9 & 10
  • 1995/1996- present
    Sessional Information Digest

House of Lords

  • 1688-2005
    Parliamentary Papers
  • 1801-1852
    A General Index to the Sessional Papers printed by order of the House of Lords, or presented by special command; from the union with Ireland to the termination of the fifth session of the fifteenth Parliament of the United Kingdom (1801-1852)
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .J6 1801/52
  • 1801-1859
    A General Index to the Sessional Papers printed by order of the House of Lords or presented by special command. 1801-1859
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .J6 Index 1801-1859
  • 1801-1922
    Indexes of British parliamentary papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) CD-ROM J301.M3x 1997 CD-ROM
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Collection) J301.M3x 1997 Guide
  • 1833-1899
    Select list of British parliamentary papers, 1833-1899
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) J301 .M3 1969
  • 1833-1899
    Select list of British parliamentary papers, 1833-1899
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) J301 .M3 1953
    In the Library: TC Law Library J301 .M3 1953
  • 1859-1870
    A General Index to the Sessional Papers printed by order of the House of Lords, or presented by special command .From 22 Vict. (1859) to 33 & 34 Vict. (1870)
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .J6 Index 1859-1870
  • 1871-1884/1885
    A General Index to the Sessional Papers printed by order of the House of Lords, or presented by special command .From 34 & 35 Vict. (1871) to 48 & 49 Vict. (1884-5).
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) Folio J301 .J6 1890 Index
  • 1989/1990- present
    British parliamentary papers index [computer file] : BPP
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (General Reference) CD-ROM J301.H6 B75x CD-ROM

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Related

House of Commons & House of Lords

  • 1814-1968
    British and Foreign State Papers
    In the Library: TC Wilson Library Annex Sub-Basement JX103 .A3

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