In 2015 Magna Carta celebrates its 800th anniversary. It is a timely moment to look back and see how successive generations have utilised and understood the foundational document of British history. In this illustrated lecture Miles Taylor examines how during the Victorian era the 1215 charter lost its legal place as statute law revisions repealed away most of its provisions, but gained its iconic status as the cornerstone of the unwritten English constitution, both in Britain and around the world from North America to India and of course to Australia.
Professor Miles Taylor joined the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, as Director in 2008. He has held chairs at the universities of York and Southampton, having taught at King’s College London and Christ’s College, Cambridge, and studied history at Queen Mary, University of London, Harvard and Cambridge. Professor Taylor has served on the Research Review Panel of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and on the editorial board of the Royal Historical Society's Studies in History series. He is currently a member of the History of Parliament editorial board, the editorial board of the Journal of British Studies and of the Grants Assessment Panel of the Economic and Social Research Council. Professor Taylor’s expertise lies mainly in the history of Victorian Britain. His books include The Decline of British Radicalism, 1847-1860 (Oxford UP, 1995) and Ernest Jones, Chartism and the Romance of Politics, 1819-69 (Oxford UP, 2003). He is currently writing a book on the history of parliamentary representation in Britain since the late 18th century, and a study of the Victorian monarchy and India.