Electoral Registers, Rate Books and Land Tax
The Manchester Room@City Library holds electoral registers for Manchester (as the City was at the time) from 1832-2001. They are on microfilm up to 1993. For registers 1993-2001 please ask staff.
Electoral rolls were not done in the years 1917 and 1940-1944. They were done twice in the years 1919-1926 and 1945-1949. We do not hold registers after 2001 as changes in legislation mean the full register has to be viewed under supervision and we cannot offer that supervision. The current electoral register is held at the Electoral Services Unit in the Town Hall.
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
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
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.
Absent Voters Lists
There are separate lists of these 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 above.
There are separate lists of these 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 above.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
1868-1918: only men over 21
1918-1928: women over 30 are granted the right to vote in Britain
1928-1969: women gain equal voting rights with men
1969: voting age reduced from 21 to 18 for all
Rate Books for Manchester from 1706 to 1901 are available on microfilm at the Manchester Room@City Library. Rate books from 1902 to 1956/1957 are available at the Greater Manchester County Record Office. An online guide to our rate book holdings for the City of Manchester is available.
In addition the Greater Manchester County Record Office holds valuation books for the 1910 Land Tax Valuation (Domesday).
As part of its Finance Bill of 1909, the Government introduced a new taxation on land values. For this tax to be implemented, a valuation of all land carried out by the Inland Revenue was necessary, giving rise to the series of records known as the 1910 Domesday Books.
The country was split into 12 and then 14 Divisions, each of which in turn was divided into Districts with a District Valuer. These sometimes cut across existing County boundaries. In what is now Greater Manchester, Manchester and Bolton contained a Valuation Divisional Office, while Wigan, Oldham and Stockport had a District Valuer's Office.
The valuation books (ref: GB124.A11) contain a great deal of information of use to the family historian. Of principal interest are the details of the name of occupier, together with his or her address, and the name and address of the actual owner of the property is also given, if different from the occupier.
In addition to giving details of owners and occupiers, information is also given about the property itself. This may be described in terms of house, shop, cottage, inn, etc., and its extent in terms of acres, roods, perches and yards is noted, as are both the gross and rateable values.
The valuation books are arranged by property number, which is not the most convenient way for family historians. However, most sets of books have a street index, and the forms from which the books are drawn, are arranged by street.