Pollbooks and electoral registers

Pollbooks list all who voted in a particular election. The right to vote was limited at this time to men owning or occupying property above a certain value.

The following pollbooks are held at the centre. Kent and West Kent pollbooks held elsewhere are listed in West Kent Sources, published by the North West Kent Family History Society:

Kent: 1734, 1754, 1790, 1802, 1804 (Index to local names for 1804).
West Kent: 1835, 1837, 1847, 1852, 1857, 1859, 1865.

Electoral registers (voters’ lists)
These list people who were entitled to vote. It is only since 1928 that all adults over 21 have had the right to vote. The voting age was lowered to 18 in 1970. Until 1832, with some exceptions, only owners of property had the franchise (the right to vote). From 1832 until 1885 the franchise was gradually widened to include householders and lodgers. In 1918 all men over 21 and women over 30 were given the vote. Women aged 21–30 were given the vote in 1928. Women who were otherwise qualified (as householders) had the vote in local elections only from 1872.

However, it was necessary to be resident at an address for a year (six months after 1918) before being registered as an elector, and this excluded many people. Moreover, registration was not compulsory and many people did not take the trouble.

  • Metropolitan Borough of Deptford 1924, 1930–1964
  • Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham 1955–1964
  • London Borough of Lewisham 1965 to date
  • Registers for the Parish and Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham 1891–1965 and the Metropolitan Borough of Deptford 1920, 1922, 1926 (part), 1927 (part), 1938–1964.

Complete sets of both the Lewisham and Deptford registers, along with those for other London boroughs, are held at London Metropolitan Archives.

For details of earlier registers, see West Kent Sources, published by the North West Kent Family History Society.

No electoral registers were produced for the years 1915–1917 and 1940–1944, as elections were not as a rule held in wartime.

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