Finsbury Central (UK Parliament constituency)

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Finsbury Central
Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
18851918
Number of members one
Replaced by Finsbury
Created from Finsbury

Finsbury Central was a parliamentary constituency centred on the Finsbury district of North London. It returned one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post system.

History[edit]

The constituency was created when the two-member Finsbury constituency was divided by the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 for the 1885 general election. It was abolished for the 1918 general election, when it was replaced by a new single-member Finsbury constituency.

Boundaries[edit]

Finsbury Central in London 1885-1918

The constituency was created, in 1885, as a division of the parliamentary borough of Finsbury, in the historic county of Middlesex to the north of the City of London. The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 provided that the constituency was to consist of the parish of St James and St John, Clerkenwell.[1]

The seat was mostly located in the Clerkenwell district, with a detached portion at Muswell Hill containing about 5% of the population. The two areas were connected for historic reasons. The Social Geography of British Elections 1885-1910, explains that the Knights of St John had once owned more than half of Finsbury Central, including a deer park at Muswell Hill.

In 1889 Clerkenwell was severed from Middlesex to become part of the County of London.

In 1894, when the lower tier of local government in Middlesex was altered, the Muswell Hill area formed part of the Hornsey Urban District, which became the Municipal Borough of Hornsey in 1903.

In 1900 the lower tier of local government in London was rationalised. The old local boards and parish vestries were replaced, in the Clerkenwell area, by the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury.

The local government changes did not affect the parliamentary boundaries until the redistribution of 1918, when the Central division ceased to be a separate constituency.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Year Member Party
1885 Howard Spensley Liberal
1886 Frederick Penton Conservative
1892 Dadabhai Naoroji Liberal
1895 William Massey-Mainwaring Conservative
1906 William Steadman Liberal
1910 Martin Archer-Shee Conservative
1918 constituency abolished: see Finsbury

Election results[edit]

Elections in the 1880s[edit]

General Election 1885: Finsbury Central [2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Howard Spensley 2,861 55.3 n/a
Conservative Saul Isaac 2,314 44.7
Majority 547 10.6 n/a
Turnout 69.4 n/a
General Election 1886: Finsbury Central [2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Frederick Penton 2,245 50.1 +5.4
Liberal Howard Spensley 2,240 49.9 -5.4
Majority 5 0.2 10.8
Turnout 60.1 -9.3
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +5.4

Elections in the 1890s[edit]

Naoroji
General Election 1892: Finsbury Central [2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Dadabhai Naoroji 2,961 50.0 +0.1
Conservative Frederick Penton 2,956 50.0 -0.1
Majority 5 0.0 0.2
Turnout 71.2 +11.1
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +0.1
Massey-Mainwaring
General Election 1895: Finsbury Central [2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Massey-Mainwaring 3,588 56.3 +6.3
Liberal Dadabhai Naoroji 2,783 43.7 -6.3
Majority 805 12.6 12.6
Turnout 71.5 +0.3
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +6.3

Elections in the 1900s[edit]

Benson
General Election 1900: Finsbury Central [2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative William Massey-Mainwaring 2,872 53.2 -3.1
Liberal Joseph Benson 2,523 46.8 +3.1
Majority 349 6.4 -6.2
Turnout 63.3 -8.2
Conservative hold Swing -3.1
Goulding
Steadman
General Election 1906: Finsbury Central [2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Lib-Lab W. C. Steadman 3,493 55.5 +8.7
Conservative Edward Goulding 2,799 44.5 -8.7
Majority 694 11.0 17.4
Turnout 76.0 +12.7
Lib-Lab gain from Conservative Swing +8.7

Elections in the 1910s[edit]

General Election January 1910: Finsbury Central [2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Martin Archer-Shee 3,559 52.8 +8.3
Lib-Lab W. C. Steadman 3,187 47.2 -8.3
Majority 372 5.6 16.6
Turnout 83.3 +7.3
Conservative gain from Lib-Lab Swing +8.3
General Election December 1910: Finsbury Central [2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Martin Archer-Shee 3,335 54.3 +1.5
Liberal Felix Rosenheim 2,804 45.7 -1.5
Majority 531 8.6 +3.0
Turnout 75.8 -7.5
Conservative hold Swing +1.5

References[edit]

  1. ^ Redistribution of Seats Act 1885, Sixth Schedule
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig