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Hansard, Thomas Curson

Hansard, Thomas Curson (1776–1833). Hansard's father Luke came from Norwich, set up as a printer in London, and from 1774 onwards published the Journals of the House of Commons. Hansard entered his father's business and in 1803 began printing the parliamentary debates for William Cobbett. In 1810 he was tried as the printer of Cobbett's Political Register for an article protesting at flogging in the army: Cobbett was sent to prison for two years, Hansard for three months. Cobbett's acute financial difficulties while in gaol forced him to sell the debates to Hansard and from 1813 the volumes appeared ‘under the superintendence of T. C. Hansard’. The Hansard family retained the enterprise for most of the 19th cent. but had considerable trouble achieving an acceptable standard of reporting. In 1909 the House of Commons decided to issue an official report of proceedings prepared by the Stationery Office. The term ‘Hansard’ remains in general use and the name still appears in brackets on the cover.

J. A. Cannon

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