X: General elections

Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament seen from the London Eye. Photograph copyright © 2005 Archives Hub.

A general election is one in which all of the Members of Parliament forming the House of Commons are elected at the same time, and this happens at least once every five years. The UK is divided into 659 constituencies, and each constituency has a Member of Parliament. A general election has been called for May 5th this year, and so this month we are highlighting related collections described on the Archives Hub: ephemera, records of political parties, electoral boundaries and trends, some views from other angles, and selected web links.

Cover of Keir Hardie's  1906 election addressCollections

General elections ephemera

Since 1945, the library of the London School of Economics has collected campaign material, such as leaflets and posters, produced by political parties and individual candidates. Material relating to the 1951 general election (Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Conservative) is not held as a separate collection.

left: detail of cover of Keir Hardie's 1906 general election address. Photograph courtesy Archives Division, London School of Economics Library.

  • 1945 Clement Attlee (Labour)
  • 1955 Anthony Eden (Conservative); 1959 Harold Macmillan (Conservative)
  • 1964 Harold Wilson (Labour); 1966 Harold Wilson (Labour)
  • 1970 Edward Heath (Conservative); 1974 Harold Wilson (Labour); 1979 Margaret Thatcher (Conservative)
  • 1983 Margaret Thatcher (Conservative); 1987 Margaret Thatcher (Conservative)
  • 1992 John Major (Conservative); 1997 Tony Blair (Labour)
  • 2001 Tony Blair (Labour)

Political parties

This is not intended as an exhaustive - or balanced - list of past or present political parties. This list simply represents the archival collections of political parties that have been described on the Archives Hub.

How we vote

Other views

  • Marjorie Leaf (fl 1984): reminiscences of life at the Prime Minister's official residence, 1937-1940
  • Emma Goldman (1869-1940): influential anarchist

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