Chamber Debates


The Hist hosts a weekly chamber debate every Wednesday evening during term time. The chamber debate consists of eight speakers speaking for and against a motion. The debate is followed by a wine reception upstairs in the conversation room. Free attendance is possible for members of the Hist.


Each speech in the debate lasts for seven minutes. Other speakers and member of the floor (audience members) are able to make points of information by standing up and saying “on that point” or “point of information”. The speaker can choose to accept or reject taking the point of information. The first and last minutes of speeches are called ‘protected time’; it is not possible to make a point of information during this time.


Both contemporary and timeless motions are discussed in these debates. The Hist aims to have a broad range of motions to satisfy its wide membership. In the course of a term, one can expect to hear debates on feminism, international relations, national politics, economics, religion and many more besides. Motions are suggested by the members and finalised by the members of committee.


Preceding each debate is a private business meeting of the committee. The minutes of the last meeting are read out by the record secretary. Announcements are made regarding the society’s performance at debating competitions and general news about the society from the previous week. When the meeting is over the members of committee leave the chamber to bring the speakers in.


Once the speakers and the chair arrive, it turns to Public Business, during which the debate occurs and at the end, the auditor announces the society's events of the upcoming week.