Liverpool Town Council existed from 1835 to 1880.

Liverpool Town Council was established by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, replacing the Liverpool Common Council which was first established under the Charter of King John in 1207. Records for the Common Council go back to 1550. In 1835, Sixteen wards were established, each of which elected three councillors for a three-year term. One-third of the councillors were elected each year in a three-year cycle. The councillors were elected by male ratepayers (not all adults). The franchise was extended throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. In addition there were 16 aldermen who were elected by the council and had the same voting rights as the elected councillors.

The Municipal Year ran from the date of the Council Annual General Meeting, (9 November, unless this was a Sunday, in which case the AGM was held on Monday 10 November) until 8 (or 9) November the following year.

No Ward 1835 Electorate 1879 Electorate
1 Everton 503 21,625
2 Scotland 344 8,300
3 Vauxhall 201
4 St. Paul's 297 1,803
5 Exchange 468
6 Castle Street 604 1,900
7 St. Peter's 548 1,602
8 Pitt Street 532 880
9 Great George 335 1,283
10 Rodney Street 478 2,542
11 Abercromby 373 2,540
12 Lime Street 633
13 St. Anne Street 393 2,792
14 West Derby 370 8,845
15 South Toxteth 230 4,772
16 North Toxteth 493
Total Liverpool 6,802 > 58,884


The increase in the numbers of electors is due to the increasing population and the widening of the franchise.

Liverpool Town Council became Liverpool City Council when Liverpool was awarded City Status on 12 May 1880. [2]

Council elections

Polling Arrangements

The franchise was based on rates paid, some electors had several votes depending on the number of properties for which they paid rates (residence and business premises).

Polling took place on the first of November, except when this fell on a Sunday, in which case it was moved to Monday, the second of November. This continued from 1835 to 1948, when the Representation of the People Act 1948 changed election day to the first Thursday in May.

An Alderman was appointed by the Council as the Returning officer for each of the wards and two assessors.

Polling began at 9 a.m. and ran until 4 p.m., but the Preciding Officers had the power to close the poll at any time before four o'clock, if an hour had elapsed during which no votes were cast. Even when a candidate was unopposed, the polls were opened. Usually a very small number of votes were cast and the polling was closed early. [3] [4]

Treating was common until it was criminalised by the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act 1883.

There was usually one polling place in each ward. Locations used included private houses, shops, coffee houses and even public houses!

Declaration on taking Office

Section 50 of the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 required that a Councillor, on taking office, make the following declaration "be made and subscribed before any two Aldermen or Councillors."

"I (name) do solemly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare upon the true faith of a Christian, that I will never exercise any power, authority, or influence, which I may possess by virtue of the office of , to injure or weaken the Protestant Church, as it is by law established in England and to disturb the said Church, or the Bishops and Clergy of the said Church, in the possession of any right or privileges to which such Church, or the said Bishops and Clergy, are or may be by law enacted." [5] [6] [7]

Aldermanic Elections

There were sixteen aldermen elected by the Town Council. In 1835 (the year of establishment of the elected Town Council) all sixteen were elected, eight for a term of three years and eight for a term of six years. Thereafter, eight were elected every third year for a term of six years.

The Aldermanic election was held at the first Council meeting after the annual election of Councillors on 9 November, except when this was a Sunday, in which case it was moved to Monday 10 November.

The election process was for "each member of the Council delivering to the Mayor a piece of paper containing the names, professions and, residences of the parties for whom he votes." [8] [9]

If an alderman resigned, he was fined £50, although as a result of the Bye-law of 9 November 1885 this was reduced to one shilling (5 pence in decimal currency).

Relevant legislation

See also


  1. ^ Liverpool Courier Wednesday, 30 December 1835
  2. ^ Liverpool Town Council Proceedings of the Council 1879–80
  3. ^ "Liverpool Mercury 30th October 1850 (1) (scan)". Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Liverpool Mercury 30th October 1850 (4) (scan)". Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  5. ^ "(Liverpool) Albion Monday 28 December 1835 (1) (scan)". Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  6. ^ "(Liverpool) Albion Monday 28 December 1835 (8) (scan)". Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  7. ^ "(Liverpool) Albion Monday 28 December 1835 (9) (scan)". Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Liverpool Courier Wednesday 10 November 1841 (1) (scan)". Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Liverpool Courier Wednesday 10 November 1841 (2) (scan)". Retrieved 28 October 2016.