Public General Act, 2&3 William IV, c. 45
For ordering, viewing and copying options: please select Ordering and Viewing
- Held At: Parliamentary Archives: GB-061
- Catalogue Reference: HL/PO/PU/1/1832/2&3W4n147
- Former Archival Reference: Display Document E.86
- Date: 1832
- Level: File
- Extent: 1 roll
- Category: Acts of Parliament/Laws/Legislation
- Description: An Act to amend the Representation of the People in England and Wales. ("Great Reform Act, 1832")
The passing of the "Great Reform Act" was a mixture of political circumstance and popular pressure. Divisions in the anti-reform Tory Party allowed the veteran Whig reformer, Lord Grey, to become Prime Minister in 1830. However, his Reform Bill was rejected by the Tory-dominated House of Lords. It was the agitation from extra-parliamentary radicals in the country at large that finally convinced a sceptical King and hostile lords that reform was necessary.
The effect of this Act was to enable the middle classes of the big industrial towns to share in political power. Each borough had previously followed its own traditional rules for determining those who had the right to vote but henceforward there would be a uniform borough franchise for adult males occupying property worth at least £10 a year. In the counties the more substantial tenant farmers received the vote. Fifty six towns with less than 2,000 inhabitants ("rotten boroughs") lost separate representation and 30 more towns lost one of their two members. New seats were created by giving twenty two large towns two members each and twenty other towns one member each. Provision was made for drawing up registers of electors and for the more efficient holding of elections.
- Access Status: Open
- Access Conditions: This record contains information of outstanding constitutional or historical importance and access to the original document is restricted. Requests to view will be dealt with by providing access to a copy.
- Reproduction Conditions: Copies should be made from the digital surrogate of this record.
- Physical Description: Roll, consisting of some 120 membranes of parchment each 18 inches long.
- Copies Exist: A digital copy of this record is available. For information about how to view it, which may include online access, please follow the link below.
Ordering the Document
Sorry, this document cannot be ordered.
There are several reasons why documents cannot be ordered. Including:
- Most closed files are closed for a set period at the point of transfer. Requests to see these files will be considered in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. To see these you will need to submit a Freedom of Information Request in writing, such as by sending an online message or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the catalogue references of the documents you are interested in.
- Documents containing sensitive personal information about living individuals are closed under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018.
- A few of our documents are in poor physical condition and are too fragile to be consulted. Some damaged documents can still be seen under the supervision of Collection Care staff, by appointment. We also have an ongoing programme of conservation and digitisation to improve long term access to the collection.
- Trying to order a group of documents rather than single items that can be consulted in the search room. In this case, please use the Browse by Hierarchy tab to navigate down to records with the level File or Item.