Category Archives: Elections

‘Fighting, swearing, drinking, and squabbling’: Charles Dickens, Eatanswill and the 1835 Northamptonshire North by-election

Today’s blog marks the anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth by exploring the inspiration behind one of the most notable political events in his first novel. Dickens’s riotous description of the Eatanswill borough election in the Pickwick Papers, first published in July … Continue reading

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MP of the month: William Pinney and another kind of ‘slavery election’

William Pinney’s career as an MP serves as an important reminder of the legacy of slave ownership in British public life and the very different attitudes to electoral corruption that existed in the nineteenth century, even among radically-inclined Liberals. In Pinney’s … Continue reading

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180th Anniversary of Town Council Elections

This month marks the anniversary of a completely new system of local elections being implemented throughout England and Wales. One hundred and eighty years ago, almost 180 boroughs in England and Wales began to publish the lists of all those … Continue reading

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A Victorian Essex Election

As electors go to the polls in the Clacton by-election, we consider how Essex voters behaved in the mid-nineteenth century, when the expanding seaside resort was still part of the Essex North constituency. In the fifty years following the 1832 … Continue reading

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The mathematics of Victorian representation: part 2

In an earlier blog on Victorian double-member elections, we looked at the differences between the total vote received by candidates and the levels of support for each party. Put simply, owing to splitting (cross-party voting) and other ‘non-party’ forms of … Continue reading

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The mathematics of Victorian representation: part 1

In this new series of posts, we look at the Victorian multi-member constituencies that predated the UK’s current electoral system and highlight the mathematical challenges they pose for historians. The first-past-the-post system of electing MPs has long been viewed as … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: Sir Robert Juckes Clifton

Next to the Wilford toll bridge, on the Trent embankment near Nottingham, stands a statue of Sir Robert Juckes Clifton (1826-1869). The life-size sandstone statue, which was once described by the Strand magazine as having ‘the worst sculptured trousers in the kingdom’, … Continue reading

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