Lewisham by-election, 1903

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Lewisham in London County, showing boundaries used in 1903

The Lewisham by-election, 1903 was a by-election held on 15 December 1903 for the British House of Commons constituency of Lewisham.

The by-election was triggered by the death of the serving Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP), John Penn.

The Unionist candidate was Major Edward Coates. The Liberal Party candidate was James William Cleland.

As with the Dulwich by-election held on the same day, the main issue was tariff reform and Joseph Chamberlain's proposals for Imperial Preference. A factor which made the result of the by election difficult to predict was that the seat had not been contested since 1892 and in that time the population had doubled in size. The additional residents, according to the Times, were mainly "City men, with comparatively small incomes".[1]

In the event, the result was a comfortable win for the Unionist candidate.


James Cleland
Lewisham by-election, 1903
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Edward Feetham Coates 7,709 57.5
Liberal James William Cleland 5,697 42.5
Majority 2,012 15.0
Conservative hold Swing


  1. ^ The Times 3 December 1903
  • The Times, 16 December 1903

See also[edit]