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Boundary Commission 1885

In 1884 Gladstone's Liberal government, with a large majority in the House of Commons, introduced a Representation of the People Bill to extend the franchise within existing constituency boundaries. It was opposed by the Conservatives in the House of Lords. It took the intervention of Queen Victoria to get the two sides to negotiate a settlement. The Lords Tories agreed to the electoral reforms on condition of a revision of constituency boundaries. The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 was the result.
      In Sussex the number of seats was reduced from 15 to nine. Brighton (which included Hove) remained a two-member constituency. The boundaries of Hastings were altered and now had only one MP rather than two.

The former two-member seat of New Shoreham and the single-member seats of Chichester, Horsham, Lewes, Midhurst and Rye were abolished. The county was divided into two divisions, East and West, with three single-member constituencies in each.
      One consequence of the revision overall was that the number of two-member seats was reduced. In many of these the landed gentry had had a safe passage into parliament and some seats were uncontested by inter-party agreement. Now the character of the Commons changed: 657 of the new total of 670 seats (including Ireland) were contested and a majority of elected candidates came from industrial and commercial backgrounds.

Brighton maps Boundary Commission 1885

The map is signed by Lt-Colonel (later Major-General) Robert Owen Jones (1837-1926), one of the two army cartographers on the Boundary Commission along with four government officials, two from each party.

To enlarge, click on the map (opens in new window).

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