Election Day 2015

Copy of Magna Carta on display at Salisbury Cathedral
Magna Carta on display at Salisbury Cathedral
As the nation goes to the polls to elect the UK’s 56th Parliament, we look at how the National Lottery is helping people explore the history and heritage of our political systems, parliament buildings and elections.

Today’s General Elections are noisy and frenetic affairs. During a period of at least six weeks, political parties and commentators bombard us with opinion polls, manifesto pledges, party political broadcasts, and in more recent years, televised debates and social media campaigns, to persuade us where to place our mark on Polling Day. 

A week is considered ‘a long time in politics’, so just how much has politics changed across the centuries? Thanks to Lottery players we have been helping people across to UK explore this important, often controversial, part of our heritage.

Over the last 21 years, HLF has funded dozens of projects right across the UK looking at the significance of Magna Carta – the Great Charter. Given King John's royal seal on the banks of River Thames at Runnymede, it is considered by many as the ‘foundation of democracy’. In this 800th anniversary year, people can visit a number of Lottery-funded Magna Carta events around the UK including an exhibition which includes one of the four original copies at Salisbury Cathedral.

From the Grassroots: An oral history of community politics in Devon is a project that is enabling local people across the county to build a picture of Devon’s rich political history. The memories of those involved in local politics from 1945 onwards, including councillors, party activists, campaigners are being collected and will be collated into a sound archive to be shared.

In the North East, people have been finding out about the less well documented popular politics and radical activity of the area from the 17th century to the present-day. Mapping the history of popular politics in the north east region has enabled people to explore topics ranging from the influence of William Morris to white radicals in South Shields.

Happy Birthday Big Ben celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Houses of Parliament’s famous clock tower bell. 28 children and scores of volunteers commemorated the occasion with a range of events and projects exploring its fascinating history.

If you are interested in exploring political heritage you can find our more on our Our grant programmes page about how HLF could help.

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