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Thread: Electoral Registers, before WW1

  1. #1

    Question Electoral Registers, before WW1

    Please help/advise...
    I am a new member and have been researching my family, who lived in Industrial Lancashire from the 1870s, through to WW2 and beyond. Having come from Ireland, they were all very poor, and lots of them worked in the chemical industry in St Helens. They all seemed to live within half a mile of each other in St Helens, in a very poor area of town, and moved house often - suggesting they were renting. So I didn't expect to find any of their names in the St Helens electoral registers, but surprisingly, a fair number of them are listed, between the 1880s and WW1.
    Question 1: Does this mean they must have been '£10 occupiers' - ie paying rent of £10 min per annum?
    Question 2:If three properties are listed in the last column, entitled " Description of Qualifying Property", what does this mean?? I was thinking my ancestors were very hand-to-mouth, with lots of children and very low wages, and this suggested to me that this particular one might in fact be landlord to someone else down the chain.
    What do you think?
    I would welcome any help anyone could offer,
    Margm

  2. #2
    Hello margm and welcome to FTF.

    I think the £10 occupier was fairly flexibly interpreted, lol, as far as my own family goes (same general area). Mine seemed to stay on the BOROUGH voters roll long after they had moved from one address to another, hence having three or more addresses.

    Of course, maybe your family did own properties. Mine owned various cheap houses which they never appear to have lived in and I know that at least one was bought as a form of pension by an elderly maiden aunt.

    OC

  3. #3
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    I was able to trace my Great Grandfather across London with a mix of Birth Certs and Electoral Registers from about 1880 through to his death in 1903. The places were from Southwark to Plumstead through to the Isle of Dogs and finally West Ham and as he was an army pensioner and a Night Watchman with 10 children I would doubt very much he could afford a £10 rent in those days. Even my mother only paid 5 shillings a week rent during W War 2.

    Janet
    Last edited by Janet; 03-02-19 at 12:18.

  4. #4
    Thank you, Old Crone,
    Your first explanation makes a lot of sense. Like Janet says below, £10 a year qualification sounds a lot of money! The year I found my ancestor with the 3 properties was 1906, and I cannot believe they had that kind of money - although I did note that extended family was living in the other 2 properties.
    I will look out for an Elderly Maiden Aunt figure in the family closet!
    Margm

  5. #5
    Thanks for replying, Janet. I was fascinated by your reference to your Mum's rent of 5/- a week in !940-odd. That's £13 annually, around 35 years later, and 200 miles away. The properties I'm talking of are 2 up, 2 down, with the front door straight off the street and into the front downstairs room - toilet - perhaps - in the yard. Was your Mum's similar? MargM

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by margm2003 View Post
    Thanks for replying, Janet. I was fascinated by your reference to your Mum's rent of 5/- a week in !940-odd. That's £13 annually, around 35 years later, and 200 miles away. The properties I'm talking of are 2 up, 2 down, with the front door straight off the street and into the front downstairs room - toilet - perhaps - in the yard. Was your Mum's similar? MargM
    Yes we rented a cottage near Bodmin with two up, two down, no running water, a well in the yard and a nettie at the bottom of the garden. It was in the country but that did seem to be the going rate for that sort of two up and two down property with just one exit door, no back door. Looking at the Census many years later for this property I was amazed to see a family of 6 children and two adults living here!! For me there was not enough room in the house to swing a cat, put me off Cornwall for life!

    Janet

  7. #7
    Thanks Janet,
    I spoke to a lady yesterday whose grandad was a miner in St Helens, and lived in a 2-Up, 2-Down property tied to the colliery. When he died - of silicosis - the colliery led his widow and family stay on, and she did so until her death, in the 80s, when her daughter was able to buy the property, as the mine had closed. Her rent, in the mid 1980s was £5 a week.
    Looking at the currency inflation calculator from 1900 to 2017, the £10 per year voting qualification would equate to about £1200 rent per year now - ie 100 a month, which of course sounds amazingly low. Need to find out more about the wages though!
    Best Wishes,
    Marg

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