2022-01-13 Dodgy Electioneering in Warrington 1830 to 1900
Speaker Philp Jeffs
Our audience of members and visitors laughed loudly and were much amused by the tactics of
previous candidates for office in their then 'social media' of posting handbills and posters
throughout the town on a very rapid basis in the early 1800s up to early 190s
Posters held in Warrington Archives
These posters, which are held in Warrington Archives illustrated the talk.
Compared with current activities of politicians and candidates they were much more personal however
with the target oposing canditate 'hidden' by discrete and sometimes jovial references.
In some cases the posters alluded to bad or noticable physical and supposed mental defects in the
opposing person's character. The rebutal was usually on the walls of Warrington within a day!
A technical and organisation feat by local printers acting for the 'author'.
To avoid legal actions against the candidate, they were usually stated to issued by someone else,
It was almost as rapid a respose as nowadays is visible in social media sites where politcians
now publicaly post their thoughts, or their 'opinion' is posted on their behalf by 'others'.Often seen as
as being posted by 'on behalf of their office' with actual author undisclosed.
The statement of opposing canditates being ugly, fat, or mentally deficient or lacking understanding
of their district inhabitants was striking.
The three Reform Acts altered the target of the posters as it enlarged from the very restricted
number of electors to a larger enfranchsed body, however at firsts only to males and those
The speaker illustrated how that change enabled some candidates to 'revalue' the houses of
their servants and employees to ensure they met the property requirements and thus were
influenced [no doubt under threat of loss of housing and employment] to vote for their employer.
In one case, the vote was close between two town major employers standing for election,
and the result was a majority of six (6) after a recount but one of these candidates had 'improved and revalued' the houses of some twenty (20) of his employees to get them enfranchised.
So was this an illustration of packing the electorate with "my people".
Search Room of Warrington Archives within "Culture Warrington"
Link to articles on The Reform Acts.
Women and the vote.
Ouur members thank Philip Jeffs for a very hearty talk given with gusto, understanding of the
obscure rerences hidden in the posters, and knowlege of the effect of the Reform Acts,
which enlivened their outing during these much restricted activitiies time due to Covid-19 precautions