Electoral registers and Burgess rolls

Electoral registers include all people who could vote in parliamentary elections.

Burgess rolls include people who could only vote in county borough elections.

Electoral registers and Burgess rolls can be useful for finding previous residents at an address.

Finding electoral registers

Burgess rolls held at Oldham Local Studies and Archives:

  • Oldham 1850-1870
  • Oldham Borough including Chadderton, Crompton and Royton 1851

Electoral registers held at Oldham Local Studies and Archives:

  • Crompton & Royton 1973-1983
  • Chadderton & Lees 1949-1959, 1961-63, 1966-1972
  • Failsworth 1896-1903, 1906, 1909-10 1913, 1934, 1937, 1956-1983
  • Oldham borough including Chadderton, Crompton and Royton 1851
  • Oldham (including Chadderton, Crompton, Lees and Royton) 1870-1915
  • Oldham 1918-1939, 1945-1984
  • Oldham  Borough (including Chadderton, Crompton, Failsworth, Lees, Royton, Saddleworth) 1984 to present day
  • Saddleworth 1861 (New Delph only), 1885, 1973-1983

Not all electoral registers covering Failsworth, Chadderton, Crompton, Oldham, Royton and Saddleworth have survived.

Electoral registers held at West Yorkshire Archive Service:

  • Saddleworth 1920-1973

Electoral registers held by Lancashire Record Office:

  • Heywood and Royton (including Crompton) 1949-1974 Incomplete run
  • Middleton and Prestwich (including Chadderton) 1934-1946 Incomplete run
  • Mossley (including Lees and Failsworth) 1934-1946 Incomplete run
  • Royton (including Crompton) 1934-1946 Incomplete run

Proof of ID will be required.

Constituency maps

  • Historical maps - includes list of maps that show constituencies/wards/districts held at Oldham Local Studies and Archives.

Who could vote?

Not everyone has been eligible to vote in the past.

1832 elections


Boroughs: The traditional Franchise of each borough with the addition of householders (whether owners or tenants) of property assessed as worth £10 a year.

Counties outside Boroughs: Freeholders with property worth 40s a year. Copyholders renting property at £10 a year. £10 leaseholders with at least 60 year leases. £50 leaseholders with at least 20 year leases. Any tenant paying more than £50 a year.

That means that 1 man in 7 had the vote - richer industrialists, merchants & substantial farmers.

1867 elections

Boroughs: Every adult male householder resident for a year and heads of families lodging in unfurnished rooms paying £10 a year in rent.

Counties: Any owner or leaseholder of property rated at £5 a year, or tenant of a property rated at £12 a year.

That means most working men in towns and cities but excluding rural labourers (so 1 man in 3).

1869 elections

Some women received a vote in local elections.

1884 elections

Boroughs: Every adult male householder resident for a year and heads of families lodging in unfurnished rooms paying £10 a year in rent.

Counties: Every adult male householder resident for a year and heads of families lodging in unfurnished rooms paying £10 a year in rent.

That means 2 men in 3. Most rural labourers now have the vote. Still excluded were heads of householders who shared houses, adult males living with parent(s), soldiers in barracks and women.

1918 elections

All males over 21. Women over 30 who were householders or wives of householders (6 women in 10).

1928 elections

Every resident or owner over 21 (97% of adult population).

1969 elections

Everybody over 18.

Local Studies & Archives
84 Union Street
Oldham, OL1 1DN
Tel 0161 770 4654