British Parliamentary Papers

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers     The House of Commons Parliamentary Papers are vital to the historical record of Britain, its former Colonies and the wider world. They are among the richest and most detailed primary sources for the history of the past two centuries, and are fundamental to an understanding of current legislation, policy making and the political environment. HCPP online, with searchable full text, and detailed subject indexing, makes it possible to fully exploit the enormous potential of this resource for the first time.

The origins of HCPP online lie in the Chadwyck-Healey microfiche edition of the nineteenth century House of Commons Sessional Papers. Published between 1980 and 1983, the microfiche edition includes filmed images of 79,527 papers, covering 4.2 million pages. The accompanying 5 volume index, Peter Cockton's 'Subject Catalogue of the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, 1801-1900', was the first thematic listing of the complete set of parliamentary papers.

HCPP online brings these two resources together for the 19th century, unlocking 100 years of policy making, investigation, correspondence and reporting for researchers of all kinds. Microfiche for the twentieth century (104,902 papers, 5.2 million pages) was subsequently produced. Scanning continues, taking coverage right up to the latest parliamentary session. These scans have also been converted into digital format, and are presented in HCPP alongside index records. These are drawn from the HMSO General Alphabetical Indexes covering 1901 to 1979 and the Parliamentary On-Line Information Service (POLIS) database from 1979. POLIS became the Parliamentary Information Management Service (PIMS) in 2005. These indexes have been overlaid with broad subject categories based on the 19th century Subject Catalogue, updated for more recent material.

HCPP now incorporates The Eighteenth Century Parliamentary Papers Collection from BOPCRIS. This collection features publications published officially by the House of Commons or the House of Lords from 1688 to 1834, including sessional papers and other material such as Journals and Private Acts. The material was brought together and digitized from the major collections of parliamentary papers at the University of Southampton, the British Library, and the University of Cambridge.

Status and publication schedule

18th century
Completed, October 2007.

19th century
Completed, March 2006.

20th century
Completed, April 2007.

Current century
Currently available: Index 2004/05-2009/10, full text for 2004/05-2008/09 sessions (5,868 papers).