Hanley (UK Parliament constituency)

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Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
County Staffordshire
Number of members One
Replaced by Stoke-on-Trent Central
Created from Stoke-upon-Trent

Hanley was a borough constituency in Staffordshire which returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom between 1885 and 1950. Elections were held using the first past the post voting system.


The constituency was created for the 1885 general election. Before this, since 1832 a parliamentary borough of Stoke-upon-Trent had existed, covering almost the whole of what is now the Stoke-on-Trent conurbation and electing 2 MPs. In 1885 this was split into two constituencies electing a single member each, Stoke-upon-Trent in the south and Hanley in the north. Hanley became a parliamentary borough in its own right, and shortly afterwards also became a county borough.

The Hanley constituency in the 1885-1918 period included Burslem as well as Hanley itself, and was one of the most populous urban constituencies in the country, with more than 100,000 inhabitants by the time of the First World War. Its main economic base was pottery, though both towns included substantial numbers of coal miners as well as pottery workers. Predominantly working class, it could be normally be considered a safe Liberal seat; however, the Conservatives managed a narrow victory as part of their national landslide in 1900, perhaps helped by lack of enthusiasm among the potters for the Liberal candidate, Enoch Edwards, who was one of the leaders of the miners' union. Edwards convincingly recaptured the seat in 1906, and with the rest of his union joined the Labour Party in 1909. At the by-election after his death, however, the Liberals regained the seat with the Labour candidate a poor third.

By the time of the general election of 1918, the county borough of Hanley had been absorbed into an enlarged county borough of Stoke-on-Trent, and in the boundary changes implemented in that year the same process took place at parliamentary level. The new parliamentary borough of Stoke-on-Trent was accorded three seats in place of the two which the area had had since 1885, and was divided into three single-member constituencies of which Stoke-on-Trent, Hanley was one. The new division was smaller than the old constituency, Burslem now having a seat of its own, and quickly became a safe Labour seat, though the Conservatives won it in their landslide year of 1931.

Hanley was abolished for the 1950 general election, being largely replaced by the new Stoke-on-Trent Central constituency.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member Party
1885 William Woodall Liberal
1900 Arthur Howard Heath Conservative
1906 Enoch Edwards Lib-Lab
1909 Labour
1912 by-election Robert Leonard Outhwaite Liberal
1918 James Andrew Seddon Coalition NDP
1922 Myles Harper Parker Labour
1924 Samuel Clowes Labour
1928 by-election Arthur Hollins Labour
1931 Harold Keates Hales Conservative
1935 Arthur Hollins Labour
1945 Barnett Stross Labour
1950 constituency abolished


Enoch Edwards

Election in the 1910s[edit]

General Election January 1910: Hanley[1]

Electorate 16,543

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Enoch Edwards 9,199 63.9 -4.3
Conservative George Herman Rittner 5,202 36.1 +4.3
Majority 27.8 -8.6
Turnout 87.1 +3.7
Labour hold Swing -4.3
General Election December 1910: Hanley[2]

Electorate 16,543

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Enoch Edwards 8,343 64.2 +0.3
Conservative George Herman Rittner 4,658 35.8 -0.3
Majority 3,685 28.4 +0.6
Turnout 78.6 -8.5
Labour hold Swing +0.3
RL Outhwaite
Hanley by-election, 1912[3]

Electorate 16,844

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Robert Leonard Outhwaite 6,647 46.4 n/a
Conservative George Herman Rittner 5,993 41.8 +6.0
Labour Samuel Finney 1,694 11.8 -52.4
Majority 654 4.6 33.0
Turnout 85.1 +6.5
Liberal gain from Labour Swing n/a

A General Election was due to take place by the end of 1915. By the autumn of 1914, the following candidates had been adopted to contest that election. Due to the outbreak of war, the election never took place.

General Election 14 December 1918: Hanley[4]

Electorate 33,789

Party Candidate Votes % ±%
National Democratic James Andrew Seddon 8,032 40.4 n/a
Labour Myles Harper Parker 7,697 38.7 +26.9
Independent Liberal Robert Leonard Outhwaite 2,703 13.6 -32.8
Liberal Leonard Lumsden Grimwade 1,459 7.3 -39.1
Majority 335 1.7 n/a
Turnout 58.9 -26.2
National Democratic gain from Liberal Swing
  • Seddon was endorsed by the Coalition Government.


  1. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, F W S Craig (Glasgow: Political Reference Publications, 1969)
  2. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, F W S Craig (Glasgow: Political Reference Publications, 1969)
  3. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, F W S Craig (Glasgow: Political Reference Publications, 1969)
  4. ^ British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, F W S Craig (Glasgow: Political Reference Publications, 1969)