Norwich by-election, 1904

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Norwich by-election, 1904
United Kingdom
← 1900 15 January 1904 1906 →
  Louis Tillett.png Ernest Wild.jpg G H Roberts.JPG
Candidate Louis Tillett Ernest Wild George Roberts
Party Liberal Conservative Ind. Labour Party
Popular vote 8,576 6,756 2,440
Percentage 48.3 38.0 13.7

MP before election

Sir Harry Bullard

Subsequent MP

Louis Tillett

The Norwich by-election was a Parliamentary by-election. It returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elected by the first past the post voting system.



Sir Harry Bullard had been Conservative MP for the seat of Norwich since the 1895 General Election. He died on 26 December 1903 at the age of 62.

Electoral history[edit]

The seat had been Conservative since they gained it in 1895. They held the seats at the last election, unopposed.


The local Conservative Association selected 35-year-old Ernest Wild as their candidate to defend the seat. He was born in Norwich and attended Norwich School. He was a Barrister who had been called to Bar at Middle Temple in 1893. He had been Judge of the Norwich Guildhall Court of Record since 1897.[1]

The local Liberal Association selected 39-year-old Norfolk born, Norwich solicitor Louis Tillett as their candidate to gain the seat.[2]

The local Independent Labour Party selected 36-year-old Norfolk born George Roberts as their candidate. He had joined the Independent Labour Party in 1886. He was elected to the Norwich School Board in 1889. He was Secretary of the Typographical Association and President of Norwich Trades Council.[3]


election card

Polling Day was fixed for the 15 January 1904, just 20 days after the previous MP died.


The Liberals gained the seat from the Conservatives;

1904 Norwich by-election[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Louis Tillett 8,576 48.3
Conservative Ernest Wild 6,756 38.0
Ind. Labour Party George Roberts 2,440 13.7
Turnout 90.1
Majority 1,820 10.3
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing

The Spectator magazine, known for its Conservative sympathies felt that "There can be little doubt that the election was fought mainly on the fiscal issue, and the result is all the more encouraging to the opponents of Protectionism in that—to quote from the Times—" both the Liberal and the Labour candidates were free traders, their united votes showing a majority of more than four thousand against the advocate of fiscal reform."[5]


At the following General Election the Conservatives also lost the other seat, the result was;

General Election January 1906[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour Green tickYGeorge Roberts 11,059 37.5
Liberal Green tickYLouis Tillett 10,972 37.2
Conservative Ernest Wild 7,460 25.3
Turnout 91.6
Labour gain from Conservative Swing
Majority 3,599 12.2
Liberal hold Swing
Majority 3,512


  1. ^ ‘WILD, Sir Ernest (Edward)’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2007; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 6 March 2014
  2. ^ Who Was Who
  3. ^ Who Was Who
  4. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig
  5. ^ The Spectator 23 JANUARY 1904
  6. ^ British parliamentary election results 1885-1918 by Craig