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Campaign poster for the 1892 General Election for George Allsopp. Source: LSE Library

As the UK gets ready to go to the polls on the 7th May find out how the Library’s resources shine a light on past elections.

Election Campaign materials

  • One of the treasures of the collection is the archive of election ephemera containing promotional leaflets and addresses made by candidates since the 19th Century.
  • The poster on the left was produced by George Allsopp, Conservative and Unionist candidate for Worcester in 1892. It was successful as he was re-elected and held the seat until he retired in 1906!
  • More dramatic is the Political thunderbolt (1892) from the ‘Common Sense Society’ which contains a plan for putting 200 working men in parliament. Other interesting early examples include a 1857 pamphlet from the 86 year-old socialist Robert Owen whose qualification is  a long life ‘discovering the true laws of humanity, the good formation of character and the right construction of society’ (p.3). The language used and dense wording of these texts appear very different to recent examples (Electionleaflet.org) offering fascinating insight into the evolution of political communication. Notice for instance that Allsop’s example is addressed to ‘gentlemen’ as only men owning land worth more than £10 or paying a rent of over £10 were eligible to vote.

For further research try:

Election results

And don’t forget

Heather Dawson

About Heather Dawson

Heather Dawson is an Academic Support Librarian based in the Academic Services Group where her main role is in Collection Development.