Hackney (UK Parliament constituency)

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Former Borough constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of members two
Replaced by Bethnal Green North East, Bethnal Green South West, Hackney North, Hackney Central, Hackney South, Hoxton and Shoreditch Haggerston
Created from Tower Hamlets (former north part of)

Hackney was a two-seat constituency in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament created under the Representation of the People Act, 1867 (often termed Second Reform Act) from the former northern parishes of the Tower Hamlets constituency and abolished under the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885 (often termed a twin Third Reform Act, with its enabling Reform Act 1884).

The constituency existed in its two-seat form for three general elections and returned two Liberal Party Members at each election until its abolition. At abolition it was noted intense house- and apartment (tenement block-) building had occurred within its boundaries and it was divided into seven single seats.


Hackney in the Metropolitan area from 1868 to 1885.

The vestry of the civil parish of Hackney became a local government authority in 1855.

The parliamentary borough of Hackney was established in 1868 and its area formed part of the east of the historic county of Middlesex. It comprised:

Parishes included Population in 1871 Population in 1881 Total electorate 7 Dec 1868 Total electorate of 20 Nov 1884
The Parish of St Leonard, Shoreditch[1] not known not known 40,613[2] 48,076[2]
The Parish of St Matthew, Bethnal Green[1] non known not known
The Parish of St John, Hackney[1] 115,110[3] 163,681[3]

The area thus formed the northern rump of Shoreditch and rest of the north of the former parliamentary borough of Tower Hamlets (Hackney accounted for the northernmost of the Hamlets in the nineteenth century, see Tower Division). The area was to the east of Islington and Hornsey, south of Tottenham in its county and west of Walthamstow in Essex.

In 1885 the two-member constituency was abolished. In 1889 the former area, for administrative purposes, became part of the London County Council local authority. In 1900 the main civil vestry was dissolved and the Metropolitan Borough of Hackney was created (with the same boundaries as the Parliamentary Borough). Since 1965 it has been part of Greater London.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election First member [4] First party Second member [4] Second party
1868 Sir Charles Reed Liberal John Holms Liberal
1874 by-election Henry Fawcett Liberal
1884 by-election James Stuart Liberal
1885 Constituency abolished. See Hackney North, Hackney Central and Hackney South


Turnout, in multi-member elections, is estimated by dividing the number of votes by two. To the extent that electors did not use both their votes, the figure given will be an underestimate.

Change is calculated for individual candidates, when a party had more than one candidate in an election or the previous one. When a party had only one candidate in an election and the previous one change is calculated for the party vote.

General Election 1868: Hackney (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Charles Reed 14,785 35.95 N/A
Liberal John Holms 12,243 29.77 N/A
Liberal Charles Salisbury Butler 6,825 16.59 N/A
Conservative C.L. Webb 2,633 6.40 N/A
Liberal L.S. Dickson 2,575 6.26 N/A
Liberal J.J. Homer 2,021 5.04 N/A
Turnout 41,132 50.64 N/A
Registered electors 40,613
General Election 1874: Hackney (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Holms 6,968 34.54 -4.77
Liberal Charles Reed 6,893 34.17 -1.78
Conservative W.J. Gill 6,310 31.28 +24.88
Turnout 20,171 24.68 -25.96
Registered electors 40,870
  • Election declared void on petition
By-Election 25 April 1874: Hackney (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Holms 10,905 35.90 +1.36
Liberal Henry Fawcett 10,476 34.49 +34.49
Conservative W.J. Gill 8,994 29.61 -1.67
Turnout 30,375 37.16 +12.48
Registered electors 40,870
General Election 1880: Hackney (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Henry Fawcett 18,366 40.19 +5.70
Liberal John Holms 16,997 37.20 +1.30
Conservative G.C.F. Bartley 10,332 22.61 -7.00
Turnout 45,693 52.19 +15.03
Registered electors 43,773
By-Election 7 May 1880: Hackney (2 seats)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Henry Fawcett Unopposed N/A N/A
Liberal John Holms Unopposed N/A N/A
  • Death of Fawcett
By-Election 20 November 1884: Hackney
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal James Stuart 14,540 62.99 N/A
Conservative A. MacAlister 8,543 37.01 N/A
Majority 5,997 25.98 N/A
Turnout 23,083 48.01 N/A
Registered electors 48,076
Liberal hold Swing N/A


  1. ^ a b c Reform Act 1867, Sch C. Legislation.gov.uk, publisher; UK Government
  2. ^ a b F.W.S. Craig (ed.), British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885 (London: The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1977)
  3. ^ a b 1881 Census of England and Wales, Population tables 2, Table 4 , 'Area, Houses, and Population of Civil Parishes in the several Registration Sub-Districts in 1871 and 1881'
  4. ^ a b Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "H" (part 1)


  • Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885-1972, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Parliamentary Reference Publications 1972)
  • British Parliamentary Election Results 1832-1885, compiled and edited by F.W.S. Craig (Macmillan Press 1977)
  • Social Geography of British Elections 1885-1910. by Henry Pelling (Macmillan 1967)
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament: Volume I 1832-1885, edited by M. Stenton (The Harvester Press 1976)
  • Who's Who of British Members of Parliament, Volume II 1886-1918, edited by M. Stenton and S. Lees (Harvester Press 1978)