Tuesday, July 02, 2024

Tory Candidates Violently Attacked

a black and white engraving entitled Election riot on 26 June 1865 in Nottingham
Election riot on 26 June 1865 in Nottingham

Disturbing reports of violence, carried out by supporters of the Liberal Party, have been reported across the whole of the UK. In Shoreham a gang of 300 Liberal supporters attacked poll clerks. In Grantham Liberals set polling booths on fire. In Alfreton a crowd of thousands attacked properties 'associated with Conservatives'.

These acts of electoral violence took place during UK elections in the 19th Century and are all documented on the Victorian Election Violence Map. The Victorian Election Violence Map visualizes nearly 3,000 incidences of violence which occurred in England and Wales during national elections held between 1832 and 1914. The map shows where violent election events took place, from minor incidents (such as the breaking of windows) to major political riots involving the deaths of many people.

There were 20 general elections in Britain between the Great Reform Act of 1832 and the Great War starting in 1914. These elections were often accompanied by extreme violence. This violence often included major riots involving thousands of people, leading to the deaths of many people and large scale property damage. For example on the first day of polling in the 1868 General Election, there were at least 18 different riots across England & Wales. 

Supporters of the Conservative Party were not averse to using violence themselves. For example in Worthing the Liberal candidate for Mid-Sussex, Mr Hubbard, was "showered with stones upon his arrival to an election" and a "member of his party, Major Gaisford, was reportedly badly cut in the face". In "Andover, the Conservative party brought in railway navigators from Salisbury and Bishopstoke and plied them with beer, then set them loose in the crowd."

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