Voters lists and electoral registers

Lists complied annually since 1832 of persons entitled and registered to vote (with the exception of 1916-1917 and 1940-1944 inclusive). Poll Lists, Burgess Rolls, Parliamentary and Electoral Registers can be useful sources of information, providing that the limitations of the franchise laws are taken into account.

Who had voting rights?

In 1832 parliamentary franchise was limited to men aged 21 and over who occupied as owner or tenant any house or place of business providing that he had:-

a) occupied the premises for 2½ years;

b) had paid rates or lived within 7 miles of the Parliamentary Borough.

1867 - The franchise was extended to adult males who occupied a house within the  Borough. This included many skilled members of the working classes.

1884 - The terms of the 1867 Act were extended to the county voters, so that all male householders throughout the country could vote.

1918 - Parliament passed an Act allowing the franchise to men 21 and over; women 30 and over.

1928 - Almost all men and women 21 and over were given the vote.

1968 - The franchise was extended to people 18 and over.

Voter list arrangement and availability

Prior to 1879 voter lists are arranged in alphabetical order of voter surname. After this date lists are arranged by ward and street. In order to use these records post-1879 you will need to know the street where your ancestor lived.

No surname or street indexes are available; the limitations of franchise law (detailed above) should also be taken into account.

Poll lists

Poll lists show all those members of the community who were entitled to vote. Their addresses and occupations are usually given and the name of the person for whom they cast their vote. Photocopied lists are available in the family history section Ref A55.3(P) unless otherwise stated for the following years for Bury (most of these include Elton):

1836, 1837, 1841, 1846 Volume only accessible in Archives Ref. ABU, 1852, 1857, 1859, 1861*, 1868,

*1861 contains all those who voted in the South Lancashire election in the Township of Bury, Elton, Heap, Pilkington, Pilsworth, Radcliffe, Tottington Lower End, Tottington Higher End, Walmersley-cum-Shuttleworth and Bacup.

Bury parliamentary registers and Burgess Rolls

Parliamentary Registers list those who were entitled to vote in parliamentary elections as well as municipal elections. Burgess Rolls are lists of persons entitled to vote in municipal elections and include many people not entitled to a parliamentary vote, including many women.

Both list the electors name and abode, nature of qualification and description of qualifying property. They cover Bury only: Moorside, East, Church, Redvales and Elton wards.

No lists survive for other areas of the borough. All originalslisted below are held by Archives (online catalogue reference AER) and where indicated a copy is available on Microfilm (MF)in the family history section.

Parliamentary registers

1877 - 1881, 1883, 1885 - 1892, 1894 - 1900, 1901 - 1915

Burgess Rolls

1876 - 78, 1880 - 1887, 1901-1915

Electoral Registers

Parliamentary Registers and Burgess Rolls were combined into a single list from 1915 as the Electoral Register. Anyone with franchise could now vote in both local and national elections.

Summary of Holdings:

The following list is arranged into areas of the borough with details of where the registers are accessible (online catalogue reference AER). Please note some registers may be unavailable if conservation work is being undertaken. It is advisable to contact the Archives in advance of a visit to ensure access is available.

Bury

1926; 1927; 1929; 1930; 1932-1939; 1945; 1946; 1950 to year prior to current register (Archives)

Current register available in Bury Archives

Ainsworth

1950 to year prior to current register (Archives)

Current register available Bury Archives

Prestwich

1939/40 [complete] (Archives)

1946 - 1950; 1952 - 1954 [incomplete registers / some wards only] (Archives)

1960 - 1963; 1965; 1968 - 1970 [incomplete registers / some wards only] (Archives)

1972 to year prior to current register [incomplete registers / some wards only] (Archives)

Current register available in Bury Archives

Radcliffe

1883 - 84; 1912; 1945 to year prior to current register (Archives)

Current register available in Bury Archives

Note - some duplicate registers (1960 onwards) are held at Radcliffe Library

Ramsbottom

1951 to year prior to current register (Archives)

Latest edition available in Bury Archives

Tottington

1926; 1927; 1929; 1930; 1932-1939; 1945; 1946; 1957 to year prior to current register (Archives)

Current register available in Bury Archives

Unsworth

1932-1934; 1936-1939; 1945; 1946; 1950 to year prior to current register (Archives)

Current register available in Bury Archives

Whitefield

1974 to year prior to current register (Archives)

Current register available in Bury Archives

Note: Lancashire Record Office hold some voters lists for parts of the areas above, for dates not covered above. None are held for 1916-1934. None are held for Ramsbottom or Whitefield.

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