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Newark MP WE Gladstone's rise to Prime Minister
William Ewart Gladstone
Gladstone was MP for Newark for 14 years and Prime Minister four times

William Ewart Gladstone was elected Conservative MP for Newark-on-Trent in December 1832 and stayed in the county for over a decade.

He was elected Prime Minister of Britain and Ireland four times between 1868 and 1894.

Tuesday, 29 December, 2009 marks the bicentenary of Gladstone's birth.

To celebrate, Nottinghamshire is hosting four exhibitions on the life and times of the former Prime Minister and his associations with the county.

William Ewart Gladstone was 23 when he was elected Conservative MP for Newark-on-Trent in December 1832.

He set up his constituency office at the Clinton Arms Hotel in the Market Place.

A plaque on the wall marks where he made his acceptance speech from the hotel balcony.

"People cheered from the street below," said the curator of one of the four exhibitions, Patty Temple of Newark Town Hall Museum.

He remained as an MP in Newark for 14 years. Ms Temple explained: "I think it was a convenient stopping off point in his career."

Two of the legacies of his time in Nottinghamshire are the restoration of Nottingham Castle and development of the Park Estate.

Gladstone resigned his seat in Newark in 1846 and went on to become a founder of the Liberal party.

Educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford, Gladstone had considered a life in the Church but his father persuaded him to go into politics.

The name of the former Newark MP lives on in the form of the Gladstone Bag, a precursor to the suitcase, named after him by a London designer.

Gladstone exhibitions

The Changing Face of Mr Gladstone at the Spotlight Gallery in Newark Town Hall Museum is open until 19 December, 2009. The exhibition is open from 11.00am until 4.00pm, Monday to Saturday.

The Life and Times of William Gladstone at Newark Millgate Museum includes a range of objects and paintings relating to the former Newark MP. The exhibition is open until 10 January, 2010.

WE Gladstone: The Grand Old Man in Nottinghamshire celebrates his longstanding Nottinghamshire associations through pictures, cartoons, letters and publications. The exhibition is open at the Weston Gallery, Lakeside from 11 December, 2009, until 21 March, 2010.

WE Gladstone MP for Newark at Trent at Newark Library, which includes a lot of literature relating to the former PM, is on until 6 February, 2010.

All the exhibitions are free.

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