Manchester City Council

Libraries Archive and Local Collections

Electoral Registers

Electoral Registers

The electoral registers for Manchester, 1832-1900, are browsable on FindmyPast. Free access is available at any Manchester City Council library.

We hold electoral registers for Manchester (as the City was at the time) on microfilm from 1832-1993. They are on microfilm in cabinets 30-31 on the ground floor of Central Library - no appointment necessary.

We hold bound volumes of electoral registers for Manchester on the ground floor of Central Library for the years 1993/4 to 2001/2, 2004/5 and 2005/6 (missing Didsbury East, Didsbury West and Gorton North wards). No appointment is necessary to view these registers.

The current full electoral register is available for consultation in the Archives and Special Collections search room on the ground floor of Central Library (Monday to Wednesday, 9am - 5pm, Thursday 9am - 8pm, Friday - Saturday 9am - 5pm). No appointment is required to consult it. No photography is permitted.

Because of changes in legislation, no historic registers are available for inspection until they are 10 years old. This means that the registers for 2005/6-2014/15 are currently inaccessible. 

You can purchase a copy of open registers which usually contains 40 to 50 percent of those registered on the full register. The price varies depending the ward and the number of electors that opted out. Email: esu@manchester.gov.uk or call 0161 234 1212.

Please note that electoral registers were not compiled in the years 1917, 1919 and 1940-1944. They were compiled twice in the years 1920-1926 and 1945-1949.

Absent Voters Lists

Absent Voters Lists were produced for 1918-1923 and were used for servicemen. They give information such as the regiment, regimental number, rank, battalion. Arrangement is the same as for 1918-1949.

Using the Electoral Registers

1832-1839: arranged by township (Ardwick, Chorlton-upon-Medlock, Hulme, Manchester) then alphabetically by surname

1839-1878: local election registers, arranged by ward, then alphabetically by surname

1879-1886: use the 1886 index to look up the polling district for a particular street. The registers are in a straight polling district number order, the polling district number appearing at the top of each page besides the ward. Check the polling district number TWICE - in Division 1 (those who could vote in local AND parliamentary elections) then in Division 3 (those who could only vote in local elections). Streets are then alphabetical within each polling district

1887-1916 : as above but use the street index on the first microfilm for each year

1918-1949: Use the 1934 street index to look up the parliamentary division and polling district number. The parliamentary division will be on the microfilm box (eg Ardwick), look for the polling district number on the microfilm. These numbers are made up of a letter and a number (eg A38) or two letters and a number. Those with two letters appear after the sequence with one letter

1950-1982: as above but use 1950 street index for 1950-60, the 1961 index for 1961-5, the 1966 index for 1966-71, the 1972 index for 1972-79, the 1980 index for 1980-81

1982-2001: arranged by ward, then alphabetically by street. Use the 1982 index for 1982-91, the 1992 index for 1992-8, the 1999 index for 1999, the 2000 index for 2000 and the 2001 index for 2001 to look up ward (a three figure abbreviation, for example DDA)

Eligibility to Vote

Please note that some people could vote in local elections even if they could not vote in parliamentary elections. For example, unmarried women after 1869. Parliamentary electoral registers only contain those eligible to vote. This has changed over time, for parliamentary elections as follows:

  • 1832-67: only MEN over 21 who owned a certain amount of land/property or who were tenants paying a certain amount of rent
  • 1867-1918: MEN who were owners/tenants or who were lodgers paying at least £10 per annum
  • 1918-1928: all MEN over 21 and WOMEN over 30
  • 1928-1971: all MEN and WOMEN over 21
  • 1971-to date: all MEN and WOMEN over 18

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