British Values in Action: Votes for Working Men

Voting day - a dangerous event!

Elections in Preston could be wild and noisy occasions! The painting pictured on the right is from the election of 1862, but shows similar scenes to the election of 1830 (you can also see sections of the crowd and the candidates in our image gallery). 

How did people vote in the 1830s?

Elections were partly so wild and chaotic because voting was not done in secret like it is today. Men cast their vote in public so everyone else knew who they voted for. You can imagine the noise of the two sides shouting at each other, trying to persuade the other how to vote!

Who won the 1832 election?

In the end, Hunt won by over 300 votes. Stanley could not believe that he had lost and he challenged the result. Huntís supporters came out in force, marching through the streets playing music and waving flags, until Stanley gave up. 

Henry Hunt was Britainís first 'radical' MP. 

Discussion ideas:

  • The portrait of Henry Hunt belonged to William Sisson, a factory worker. When the factory boss found out who William voted for, he was sacked. Why do you think this was?

  • Henry Hunt gave each man who voted for him a medal like the ones pictured above. If you voted for Henry Hunt in 1832, would you have worn your medal with pride?


Chaotic - Out of control 
Elected - Chosen for a job by a vote
Member of Parliament (MP) - Someone people vote for to represent their local area in Parliament
Occasions - Events or times when something is happening
Radical - Someone who believes in the need for major change

View other relevant My Learning resources or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas. 

Scroll down for a list of links and resources on this topic.

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