The 1832 Reform Act completely redrew the electoral map of Britain and Ireland. It removed many small corrupt boroughs and gave representation to growing industrial towns such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. However, small towns and county seats remained the backbone of the electoral system. Unlike the current system of single-member constituencies, the majority of electors – whether in boroughs or in counties – voted to return two members to the House of Commons.
The 1832-68 project will provide a study of every constituency – more than 400 – in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, making this material available on our website as it is completed.
Among the articles currently available are:
- several major cities, including Birmingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Nottingham
- the only completely new constituency to be created between 1832 and 1868 – Birkenhead, which had its inaugural election contest in 1861
- several Irish constituencies ranging from Bandon to Youghal
- the seaside resort of Brighton, which saw unusually high levels of female involvement in local politics
- the only constituency in England with a circular boundary – Rochdale, renowned for its associations with the co-operative movement, and with Richard Cobden and John Bright
The following constituencies can currently be consulted:
Bandon, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Brighton, Carlisle, Cashel, Clonmel, County Waterford, Derby, Derbyshire North, Derbyshire South, Dungarvan, Durham city, Gateshead, Glamorgan, Kinsale, Leicester, Leicestershire North, Leicestershire South, Lichfield, Malton, Montrose, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Poole, Richmond, Rochdale, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Tamworth, Thirsk, Wakefield, Walsall, Warwick, Westmorland, Whitby and Youghal.
For details of how to obtain access to the website, please see here.