Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Background Information

Right of Election:

in inhabitants paying scot and lot

Estimated number qualified to vote:


Number of registered freeholders:

2,958 in 1826


72,566 (1821); 77,796 (1831)2


10 Mar. 1820CHARLES CALVERT1264
 Sir Thomas Turton, bt.458
14 June 1826CHARLES CALVERT1807
 Edward Polhill1342
 Charles Calvert663
25 Nov. 1830CHARLES CALVERT vice Harris, deceased1066
 Thomas Farncomb663

Main Article

Southwark was a populous business and residential district situated on the south bank of the River Thames, opposite the City of London, in the east of the county. It was notable for its large number of breweries, and other industries included glass making, pottery, printing, hat making, distilling and timber cutting.3 The borough encompassed the whole of the parishes of St. George the Martyr, St. John, St. Olave and St. Thomas, and part of St. Saviour, excluding the liberty of the Clink. Although it was constituted as the Bridge Without ward of the City, it did not enjoy the privilege of electing aldermen or common councillors and was under the direct jurisdiction of the lord mayor; the high bailiff, the returning officer for parliamentary elections, was appointed by the common council.4 The franchise was vested in the ratepaying inhabitants, but their substantial number was apparently subject to some restriction: Charles Barclay, the ministerialist displaced in 1818, informed the Commons, 28 May 1827, that by ‘certain local acts’, landlords sometimes paid the poor rates on houses rated under £20 per annum, thus depriving their tenants of the franchise. Elections were nearly always contested, often with a boisterousness that spilled over into violence. Thomas Oldfield claimed in 1820 that the borough was ‘not under influence of any degree, or of any kind, owing to its great population and opulence’, but the prime minister Lord Liverpool took a more jaundiced view the following year, naming Southwark among other metropolitan constituencies when he wrote:

I believe them to be more corrupt than any other places when seriously contested, and I believe the description of persons which find their way into Parliament through these places are generally those who from the peculiarity of their character or their station are the least likely to be steadily attached to the good order of society.5

In 1818 Southwark had gone the way of its neighbour Westminster, by returning two opposition Members. Charles Calvert, who had sat since 1812, was a representative of the brewing interest; he boasted to the Commons, 28 May 1827, that he had ‘never spent a farthing’ on elections. Sir Robert Wilson, an outsider famed for his colourful military career, was returned for the first time in 1818 by the Southwark Independent Association, reportedly at no cost to himself. This organization, contemptuously referred to by William Cobbett+ as ‘Sir Bobby’s rump’, continued to meet regularly to celebrate the anniversary of his original return.6 Both Members attended a public meeting summoned to condemn the Six Acts, 9 Dec. 1819.7

At the dissolution in 1820 Calvert and Wilson offered again. Barclay declined an invitation to come forward, as he had no ambition to fill ‘a situation which exposes its possessor to unmerited obloquy and calumnious misrepresentation’. His party, led by the vat maker Florance Young, turned instead to another former Member, Sir Thomas Turton of Lingfield, Surrey, whose previous erratic course meant that his candidature was greeted with general surprise.8 Before the election, a public meeting was convened, 1 Mar., to agree an address of congratulation and condolence to George IV. The resulting document was uncontroversial, after the Members succeeded in stifling demands for mention to be made of Queen Caroline; Calvert warned that any such reference might damage the borough’s chances of obtaining a review of its anomalous corporate status.9 At the ‘uncommonly noisy’ nomination meeting, Turton strained to be heard as he affirmed his continued opposition to Catholic relief and defended the Six Acts as ‘necessary’; he nevertheless supported the abolition of rotten boroughs. He was dismissed by Calvert’s agent, Solomon Davis, as a candidate of last resort for his party. Copies were circulated of a speech he had made in 1807 against compulsory parish schools, in which he had warned that the education of labourers might teach them dissatisfaction with their station in life. He was also arraigned for having uttered the proverb

          A woman, a spaniel, a walnut tree
          The more you beat them the better they be

during the election of 1802. Turton complained of misrepresentation, and sought to deny the imputation of misogyny by entering, as one newspaper noted, ‘into the details of his youthful adventures a little more explicitly than we can decently report’. On the hustings, Wilson painted a lurid picture of the implications of the Six Acts for the liberty of the people, using French caricatures to aid comparison of the state of the nation with that of pre-revolutionary France. He expatiated on the evils of excessive taxation and expressed support for parliamentary reform. Calvert’s less florid pronouncements followed a similar line. He deftly sidestepped the issue of Catholic relief by stressing that his previous votes had simply been for inquiry; he repeatedly declined to be pledged as to his future conduct. Wilson concurred, though he added that his military experience abroad had opened his mind on the subject. Despite Turton’s assertion that the sitting Members had been frightened into a frantic last minute canvass, he trailed a long way behind them and informed the high bailiff, at the end of the second day’s polling, of his intention to retire the following evening; the poll was closed early on the fourth day. The Whig leader Lord Grey congratulated Wilson on his deliverance from a ‘contemptible but loathsome opponent’.10 Turton’s claims of a coalition against him were given credence by Wilson’s subsequent speech, in which he proclaimed his ‘cordial and entire union on every important principle’ with Calvert. It was reported that 1,640 electors had cast their votes, of whom 403 gave plumpers; the majority of these presumably went to Turton.11 In the Commons, 2 Mar. 1821, Wilson stated that the cost of his election had been £300, which he regarded as proof of the incorruptibility of the electors.

A public meeting was held on 30 June 1820 to agree an address of support to Queen Caroline, but when allusion was made to the proceedings of the Milan commission, the high bailiff, John Prinsep, felt obliged to read out part of the Seditious Meetings Act. The resulting address was presented by the Members and a deputation of the electors. Similar addresses were framed at meetings of the inhabitants of St. Saviour’s, 22 Sept., when the chaplain forbade the ‘profane’ use of the vestry, and of the lightermen and watermen of that parish, 3 Oct.12 The whiff of radicalism was detectable at an inhabitants’ meeting to ‘consider the alarming state of national affairs’, 24 Oct., when Wilson, the only Member present, successfully resisted an amendment by one Butler calling for the appointment of a ministry possessing the ‘entire confidence’ of the people, arguing that this was an impossible demand. A milder censure of ministers was carried, with three dissentients, and embodied in an address to the king which was forwarded to the Members for presentation.13 Following the abandonment of the bill of pains and penalties against the queen an illumination took place, 13 Nov., and a meeting nine days later to vote an address of congratulations was attended by her adviser Matthew Wood*, a Southwark elector, along with both the Members. Young’s attempt to hold a loyalist meeting in St. Olave’s vestry, 30 Dec. 1820, was thwarted by a sudden influx of the queen’s supporters, who passed their own resolutions. Petitions from meetings in the parishes of St. Saviour and St. John, and from the bricklayers, builders and sawyers, calling for the restoration of the queen’s name to the liturgy, were presented to the Commons in January and February 1821.14 Wilson, who routinely paid lip service to radical notions of the Member as delegate, was grilled by his constituents, 22 June 1821, over a vote he had given four days earlier for the duke of Clarence’s grant, which was deemed not to be in the spirit of economy and retrenchment.15 Following Wilson’s expulsion from the army that August because of his conduct during disturbances at the queen’s funeral, Prinsep refused to grant the use of the town hall for a protest meeting but was overruled after an application to the lord mayor. The meeting initiated a subscription for Wilson and lodged a complaint regarding Prinsep’s conduct with the court of common council, which exonerated him on the ground that he had acted from fear of trespassing on the royal prerogative.16 Wilson’s misfortune appeared to endear him further to his constituents, who held another enthusiastic meeting for him, 18 June 1822, which both the Members for Westminster and Samuel Charles Whitbread, Member for Middlesex, attended; there was a curious reluctance to drink the health of Calvert. However, unanimity prevailed at a public meeting, 11 Feb., to organize a petition in favour of economy, retrenchment, an end to arbitrary laws and a ‘full, fair and equal’ system of parliamentary representation, which Calvert presented to the Commons, 19 Feb. 1823.17 In April 1823 Wilson announced to the electors his departure to fight for the independence of Spain, and left constituency matters in the hands of Grey’s son-in-law, John George Lambton. To Lambton and his chief supporter in the borough, the soap manufacturer George Weatherstone, Wilson sent regular reports of his exploits in Spain. Weatherstone glossed over the failure of this expedition at another rally, 22 June 1824, when Wilson tried to drum up support for recognition of the South American republics.18 Calvert was evidently more concerned with local matters: in 1823 he piloted through the Commons the Southwark court of requests bill, to reduce the cost of recovering small debts in the area court, despite opposition from the bailiff; and in 1825 he sponsored a measure to light and pave the borough, which was rejected (15 Apr.) after Wilson, without explanation, opposed it.

At the general election of 1826 the sitting Members faced a serious challenge from Edward Polhill of Clapham, a wealthy tobacconist, whose firm occupied premises in Borough High Street. His candidature was first publicly mooted on 1 June and confirmed at a meeting two days later, when his principal advocate was Stephen Holloway, an octogenarian linen draper and business neighbour. He evidently also enjoyed the support of those who had backed Barclay in 1818 and Turton in 1820.19 Though his father Nathaniel had represented the borough as a Wilkite, 1774-82, Polhill was commended to the electors by the Courier as ‘a man of property’ and ‘of good family’, who ‘would not consent to break down the Protestant bulwark of the constitution’. Early campaign placards sought to emphasize his local charitable endeavours and his disposition to support reductions in taxation, parliamentary reform and a revision of the corn laws, on a par with the sitting Members. On the other hand, a satire of him as ‘Mr. Baccabox’ hinted at the direct involvement of the government in promoting his candidature.20 While Catholic relief was the major election issue, opposition to Calvert at the local level stemmed from his attempt to block the renewal of an innkeeper’s license to one William Martin, who had reportedly garnered 500 pledges of plumpers against him.21 The opening proceedings were witnessed by Count Lavallette, the Napoleonic minister whom Wilson had helped to spring from a French gaol in 1816. Lavallette described his friend’s entry into the borough as ‘a tumult, a confusion which the strongest heads could with difficulty have borne’. The scene was a riot of colour as well: ‘Sir Robert has chose blue Marie Louise; Mr. Calvert sky blue; and Mr. Polhill orange or yellow’. At the nomination, when 4,000 people crammed into a fork in the High Street, Polhill lost the show of hands. Newspaper coverage of the proceedings was hampered by the lack of provision for reporters near the platform and by the volume of the heckling which greeted Polhill. Lavallette recorded the opinion of one doubtless partial observer, who had stood close enough to hear Polhill, that ‘the House of Commons would not have gained an orator in him if he had been elected’.22 On the hustings, after days of goading, Polhill finally revealed his true colours, declaring that ‘again and again he would say, "No Popery", he avowed the sentiment and he was not afraid of it’; he also described himself as ‘a supporter of administration’ who ‘admired the principles of Mr. Pitt’. Calvert and Wilson both stood on their records. Davis, who as usual introduced Calvert, mentioned his opposition to the assessed taxes, the corn laws and slavery in the colonies, while James Blacket, the clothier who proposed Wilson, observed that ‘before he had been brought forward to combat corruption at home, he had manfully fought against the enemies of his country abroad’. Calvert again avoided giving any direct pledge on Catholic relief, but hinted that he regarded concession as inevitable, whereas Wilson frankly committed himself to ‘civil and religious liberty’. Both men candidly admitted that a ‘coalition of public spirit and freedom’ existed between them: Calvert referred to their ‘together battling for the independence of Southwark’, and Wilson went so far as to state that he did not want a seat ‘if the borough were not independent enough to avoid the hermaphrodite condition of returning two Members of adverse principles’. Wilson narrowly headed the poll at the end of the first day and, though overhauled by Calvert on the second, he still enjoyed a lead of 280 over Polhill. This had increased to 400 by the end of the fourth day, when Calvert and Wilson both displayed frustration at Polhill’s determination to persist, which he justified by claiming that 1,600 had yet to poll. Wilson said he had evidence that Polhill was employing ‘jobbers’ to bring up his votes and named one William Bryant, presumably the same attorney who was the scourge of the patrons of Reigate and Aldborough. He also complained of being set upon by a mob of stone throwing youths, whom he alleged to be in Barclay’s employ. The Courier withdrew its counter claim that a passer-by had been killed in a fracas involving Wilson’s Irish supporters, ‘of whom there are no few’, though elsewhere it was reported that a Polhill supporter who refused to surrender his colours had received serious injuries. Wilson ascribed Polhill’s perseverance to the ‘hostile, implacable, self-interested, domineering party’ which had brought him forward, and as the contest dragged on into its sixth day, with the deficit narrowed to less than 30 votes, the language of the campaign became increasingly personal; the adverse reaction to Calvert’s slighting reference to ‘the great tobacconist’ compelled him to apologize. Polhill finally gave up on the morning of the seventh day, in deference to his friends’ advice. Calvert maintained that the loss of trade resulting from the prolonged poll would harm Polhill’s chances should he ever try again, but he nevertheless vowed to do so at a subsequent meeting of his supporters, at which Barclay explained why he had not come forward himself.23 The available evidence shows that 2,958 polled, of whom 829 gave plumpers to Polhill, while 1,528 split their votes between Calvert and Wilson.24

The Members sought to play down divisions between the agricultural and commercial interests at a public meeting on the corn laws, 15 Nov. 1826. Widespread ignorance was revealed about the level of the existing import duties, but a petition calling for their alteration and for a ‘strict and vigilant guard in public expenditure’ was agreed nonetheless; it was presented to the Commons, 27 Feb. 1827.25 The inhabitants and several Dissenting chapels petitioned for repeal of the Test Acts in 1827 and 1828.26 Anti-Catholic petitions were sent up by four chapels in 1829, but the Members supported the Wellington ministry’s emancipation bill.27 Shortly before the dissolution in 1830 Charles Poulett Thomson* approached Lord Grey’s son Lord Howick* with the suggestion that he might offer for Southwark, as Wilson’s old supporters were ‘very much disgusted with him’; the expense was expected to be ‘very trifling’. However, Grey counselled against such a step, observing that the seat ‘would be a very troublesome one and ... very inconvenient ... should our friends ever be in power’.28 In the event, there was a late challenge to Calvert and Wilson, when the local hat maker John Rawlinson Harris was brought forward, apparently by licensed victuallers angry at Wilson’s support for the sale of beer bill, which had opened their trade. An enigmatic figure, Harris was a warden of St. Saviour’s with a reputation for philanthropy, but he had resided in the borough for many years without making himself conspicuous in politics.29 On the hustings, where he was nominated by the carpenter John Armsby and the gunmaker James Harding, he pledged himself to ‘economy in the public expenditure’ and ‘moderate and temperate reform’, professed abhorrence of slavery and denied being a ‘trimmer’, or tool of the ministry. He also spoke out against select vestries, and in favour of including the Clink liberty in the parliamentary borough. Earlier press criticism of Wilson’s failure to promote improvements to Southwark’s water supply may have prompted his defence of his record of attention to local concerns, though to find examples (the London Bridge bill and the St. Saviour’s Market bill) he had to go back seven years. He indicated his willingness to support the government on appropriate occasions and set his face against radical reform, especially the ballot. Both he and Calvert were heckled for having supported the establishment of the metropolitan police force, whose jurisdiction extended over Southwark. Calvert stood on ‘principles of independence and Whiggism’ and claimed a successful canvass, but the show of hands was for Wilson and Harris.30 During the ensuing contest, the sitting Members avoided the overt declarations of friendliness that had marked the previous election, and the arithmetic soon indicated that one of them was likely to lose. After two days’ polling, Harris had established a lead of 91 over Calvert and 114 over Wilson, but it was Calvert who was heckled to the point of inaudibility. After heavy polling on the third day, Calvert trailed by 179 and professed bafflement at this evidence of dissatisfaction. The following day the gap widened to 363 and Calvert, responding to his hecklers, admitted that his vote for a delay in the implementation of parts of the beer bill, for the sake of the licensed victuallers, had proved unpopular with the wider electorate. He found himself on the receiving end of hints about retirement, to which he bowed at the end of the fifth day, blaming bad faith on the part of many promised supporters. He irascibly discounted the possibility of his standing again in future, complaining that ‘I have not been dealt with as I ought’. The poll was opened on the sixth day pro forma, and the election of Wlson and Harris was confirmed. According to the Surrey Chronicle, the licensed victuallers had thus been hoist with their own petard:

The result of this election was totally unexpected. Mr. Calvert, from the strength of his interest and the support of powerful friends, made sure of his return; but his defeat is accounted for in a very natural way. The licensed victuallers expressed their determination to throw out Sir Robert, because he voted for the beer bill, and being an influential body, threw the weight of their interest into the joint scale of Harris (avowedly brought forward in the first instance to oppose Sir Robert) and Calvert. But it appears that they were completely out-generalled; for though the potwallopers promised they would vote for Harris, and have kept their words, they were resolved at the same time to give their other votes to their old favourite Sir Robert; and thus the publicans, in supporting the former against the latter, absolutely increased the gallant General’s strength, when they exultingly fancied they had ensured his defeat.

It was reported that 2,365 had cast their votes, but in the absence of detailed polling analysis it is not possible to test the accuracy of the newspaper’s explanation. The high bailiff, John Holmes, kept a record of doubtful votes, which were chiefly disputed over the six-month residency requirement, but as these were not crucial to the result no further investigation was made. Holmes’s expenses of £458 were regarded as ‘enormous’ by Calvert’s agent, but the candidate himself, who had plainly recovered his good humour, willingly paid his share.31 For the chairing ceremony on 13 Aug., the Members processed for half a mile through the borough’s streets, attended by knights in full armour, in what appears to have been an unusually impressive display.32

Harris’s death on 27 Aug. 1830, of a fever to which the ‘fatigue and anxiety’ of the election was probably a large contributory factor, prompted a flood of idle speculation as to his successor. Charles Pott, the vinegar merchant of Bridge Street and one of Harris’s leading supporters, was mentioned as a possible candidate, along with Felix Calvert, the soldier son of the former Member’s brother Nicolson Calvert*, Lancelot Baugh Allen, a clerk in chancery and brother of John Hensleigh Allen, formerly Whig Member for Pembroke Boroughs, and an unidentified Mr. Adcock.33 It seems that while Harris lay dying Lord John Russell, defeated at Bedford, had been approached, but in a subsequent letter to a well-wisher he explained that ‘now ... the calamity has occurred and Mr. Calvert has proclaimed himself willing to serve ... he shall not have to encounter any pretensions of mine’. A Southwark delegation nevertheless ‘assailed’ Russell, a Dissenters’ meeting was held in his support, 2 Sept., and Wilson, through Lady Holland, urged him to go ahead.34 On 3 Sept. a meeting took place for another aspirant, the metropolitan radical Colonel Leslie Grove Jones, who was later defeated at the 1832 election for Marylebone. He described himself as a supporter of the ballot and ‘a thorn in the side of ministers’, but announced that he would not stand in Calvert’s way. Prompted by Bentham’s disciple John Bowring, the poet and novelist Edward George Earle Lytton* (later Lord Lytton) also issued an address, only to withdraw from a disinclination ‘to split and distract the independent interest’.35 Russell arrived at the same determination on learning that a ‘most successful’ canvass had already been made on Calvert’s behalf and that, though the latter had pointedly refused to canvass in person, he had agreed to serve if elected. This was the subject of derisory comment at a meeting of Russell’s supporters, 6 Sept., when he confirmed that he would not stand. His father, the duke of Bedford, commented that he was ‘glad that John was clear of ... Southwark’, as ‘it would have done him no good morally or physically’. To dampen the ardour of his supporters, it seems that Russell was obliged to state that he would not take his seat even if elected.36 However, an opposition to Calvert materialized in early October, in the shape of Thomas Farncomb, a wealthy merchant and shipowner of Tooley Street, who later served as lord mayor of London. According to a radical publication, he was ‘set up by some interested attornies’, in which case Sholl, his proposer, may have been Robert Sholl of Clement’s Inn. Like Harris, Farncomb could boast of long local connections and experience of parochial office, and the success claimed for his canvass fuelled anticipations of a ‘sharp contest’.37 On the hustings, Calvert attacked Wellington for his attitude to reform and stated that, ‘if he approved of their measures’, Lord Grey’s new ministry would receive his ‘cordial support’. Given Farncomb’s backing for him at previous elections, Calvert queried the basis for his candidacy. Farncomb coolly cited his opponent’s seemingly unequivocal farewell on the previous hustings and, while joining in the strictures on Wellington, described himself as ‘neither Whig nor Tory’. With a touch of theatre, he employed live black mascots to proclaim his attachment to the anti-slavery cause. Proceedings were delayed for half an hour by mud slinging and attempts to capture rival colours (blue for Calvert, red and white for Farncomb). Harking back to 1826, Calvert’s committee alleged the involvement of Barclay’s employees, while the candidate himself fulminated against the ‘vindictive hostility’ of his brewing rival. Farncomb sprang to the defence of ‘his friend’ Barclay, who he said had counselled him against going to a poll. This turned out to be sound advice. Although Farncomb’s supporters took possession of the hustings and won him the show of hands, Calvert enjoyed a lead of 78 at the close of the first day’s polling. The margin had widened to over 400 by the end of the second day, when Farncomb gave up, complaining of broken pledges; the closing ceremony the following morning was delayed when one of his more zealous supporters insisted on polling. In returning thanks, Calvert declined to pledge himself on the specifics of reform, but professed ‘no objection’ to the ballot. A radical source claimed that Calvert’s friends had expended £2,500 on his behalf, while Farncomb’s failure was reputed to have cost him personally £3,000.38

Anti-slavery petitions from the inhabitants and Dissenting chapels were sent up to the Commons in March 1831.39 Petitions in favour of parliamentary reform were presented from the inhabitants and the householders of St. John’s, 26 Feb. At a public meeting on 8 Mar., when the leading part was taken by Davis and John Ellis, a hop factor and prominent supporter of Calvert, a unanimous resolution was passed in favour of the government’s bill; the resulting petition, though originally entrusted to Wilson, was presented by Calvert, 14 Mar. Similar petitions were forwarded by the United Parishioners’ Society of St. George’s, 14 Mar., and the inhabitants of St. Olave’s, 21 Mar.40 Both Members voted for the bill’s second reading, but Wilson sensationally abstained on Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. He compounded this felony by failing to attend a constituency meeting to explain himself, which had been held over at his request, sending only a letter signifying his intention not to stand again, 23 Apr. A handful of his supporters were inclined to give credit to his motives, if not his actions, but most agreed with Farncomb that he was guilty of ‘dereliction’ of duty. William Brougham, the lord chancellor’s brother, was already lined up to replace Wilson, and addressing another assembly of electors the same day he pointedly pledged that ‘he would never deceive them’. In a published address, he declared himself ‘an uncompromising supporter of parliamentary reform, to the fullest extent which the measure of His Majesty’s able, honest and vigorous ministers contemplate’. Jones and Bulwer remained in the field from the previous by-election, though the latter withdrew on discovering Brougham’s pretensions and found a seat elsewhere. Jones also gave up, but not without making his point: at a noisy meeting on 26 Apr. 1831 he condemned the recommendation of a candidate on the strength of family connections as typical of ‘the old villainy of the Whigs’, and he taunted supporters of the chancellor’s brother that they ‘would be delighted with his wig, or his puppy dog’. He also criticized the younger Brougham’s appointment to a mastership in chancery and censured Russell for endorsing his candidacy. However, despite the prompting of supporters, he declined to go to a poll, citing his regard for Calvert.41 The nomination proceedings were enlivened by Davis’s suggestion that Wilson should be tarred and feathered. Calvert, doubtless with his ex-colleague’s apostasy in mind, pledged to ‘stick by the question of reform like a leech’. Brougham, who was sponsored by one John Richards, poured scorn on the Tories in a lengthy speech. Following their unopposed return, Calvert expressed regret that the absence of an anti-reform candidate had prevented the electors from making the strength of their views known.42 The high level of political participation in Southwark had been the subject of press comment a month earlier, when at the St. Saviour’s vestry clerk election, 1,110 voters had polled out of a possible 1,150.43

On 5 July 1831 Calvert presented a petition from the parish of Christchurch, which lay to the west of the existing borough, for inclusion in the reformed constituency. This area, along with the liberty of the Clink, lay outside the City of London’s jurisdiction, and was likewise excluded from the franchise; some inhabitants had claimed the right to vote in 1812, but without success.44 The addition of both districts was proposed in the reintroduced reform bill and won approval from all parties in the House, 9 Aug. In their report the boundary commissioners noted that property values in Southwark had ‘considerably decreased’, owing to the recent depression in trade, and they pointed out that the number of qualifying houses (4,658) compared unfavourably with the other metropolitan constituencies. Consequently, they advocated the further addition of the easterly Thames-side parishes of St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey and St. Mary’s, Rotherhithe, which had originally been ear marked for inclusion in the new borough of Lambeth. In these parishes, too, the commissioners found fewer qualified electors than expected, which they ascribed to the ‘unwholesome and disagreeable effluvia’ emanating from the numerous chemical works in the area. Additionally, they recommended that the Mint and Manor of Suffolk, in the parish of St. George, a peculiar liberty where immunity from arrest had once been claimed, be specifically included in the borough, its status having been at some time in doubt. These additions took the number of qualifying houses in the borough to 9,923.45 According to Barclay’s son, Southwark ‘felt not the excitement’ of other metropolitan districts at the coronation of William IV, 8 Sept. Following the Lords’ rejection of the reform bill, a meeting of the inhabitants, 14 Oct. 1831, unanimously carried an address to the king expressing their indignation.46 At another gathering, 13 May 1832, Ellis and Richards moved to petition the Commons to withhold supplies until Grey’s ministry was reinstated, which was unanimously agreed; the language used by some of the speakers about certain peers was too strong for inclusion in press reports. Calvert presented the petition, 1 June 1832.47 When he fell victim to cholera two months later, his friends had a medal struck in his memory.48

There were 4,775 registered electors in 1832 and at the general election that year Brougham was comfortably returned with John Humphery, a wharfinger and merchant who had pledged himself to follow Calvert’s political line, ahead of Baugh Allen. A radical candidate gave up on the hustings, but the growing influence of this party effectively forced Brougham’s retirement at the dissolution in 1834.49 The Liberals monopolized the representation of Southwark until 1870.

Author: Howard Spencer


  • 1. PP (1826-7), iv. 1142-3. The Times, 4 Aug. 1830, reports Calvert’s estimate of at least 3,500.
  • 2. PP (1831-2), xxxvi. 258. Figures include the liberty of the Clink. The borough population in 1831 was put at 62,333.
  • 3. E.W. Brayley and E. Walford, Surr. iv. 387-8; VCH Surr. iv. 125.
  • 4. PP (1830-1), x. 102-3; (1831-2), xxxvi. 250-8; D.J. Johnson, Southwark and the City, 196.
  • 5. Oldfield, Key (1820), 217; Add. 38458, f. 273.
  • 6. Report of Speeches at Anniversary Dinner, 1819 (Southwark Local Stud. Lib.); Cobbett’s Rural Rides ed. G.D.H. and M. Cole, ii. 476.
  • 7. The Times, 10 Dec. 1819.
  • 8. Courier, 14 Feb., 6, 7 Mar. 1820.
  • 9. Baldwin’s Weekly Jnl. 4 Mar. 1820.
  • 10. The Times, 8-11 Mar.; Courier, 9-11 Mar.; Baldwin’s Weekly Jnl. 14 Mar.; Grey mss, Grey to Wilson, 13 Mar. 1820.
  • 11. PP (1830-1), x. 102-3; Courier, 11 Mar. 1820.
  • 12. The Times, 1 July, 23 Sept., 4 Oct.; Baldwin’s Weekly Jnl. 8 July, 29 Sept. 1820.
  • 13. The Times, 23 Nov. 1820.
  • 14. Baldwin’s Weekly Jnl. 18 Nov.; The Times, 23 Nov. 1820, 1, 20 Jan., 10 Feb. 1821; CJ, lxxvi. 13, 15, 67.
  • 15. The Times, 23 June 1821.
  • 16. Imperial Weekly Gazette, 6, 13 Oct.; The Times, 19 Oct. 1821, 2 Aug. 1822.
  • 17. The Times, 19 June 1822, 12 Feb. 1823; CJ, lxxviii. 40-41.
  • 18. The Times, 28 Apr., 28 May, 2, 16, 27 June 1823, 23 June 1824.
  • 19. Courier, 1, 4 June; The Times, 3, 28 June; Surr. Chron. 6 June 1826.
  • 20. The Times, 7 June 1826; M.D. George, Cat. of Pol. and Personal Satires, x. 15136.
  • 21. The Times, 6 June 1826.
  • 22. Ibid. 6, 8 June 1826; Mems. Lavallette ed. L.A. White, ii. 429.
  • 23. The Times, 7-10, 12-14, 28 June; Courier, 10, 12 June 1826.
  • 24. PP (1830-1), x. 102-3; Courier, 14 June; The Times, 15 June 1826.
  • 25. The Times, 16 Nov. 1826; CJ, lxxxii. 238.
  • 26. CJ, lxxxii. 482, 520, 574, 578; lxxxiii. 79, 90, 95, 96.
  • 27. Ibid. lxxxiv. 98, 124, 148, 173.
  • 28. Grey mss, Howick jnl. 26-27 June 1830.
  • 29. Surr. Chron. 3 Aug. 1830; W. Rendle and P. Norman, Inns of Old Southwark, 363.
  • 30. The Times, 9 Mar., 31 July, 4 Aug.; Baldwin’s Weekly Jnl. 7 Aug. 1830; Account of Procs. at Southwark Election, 1830 (GL Ms. 12).
  • 31. The Times, 2-6 Aug.; Surr. Chron. 10 Aug. 1830; Southwark Election, 1830, passim; PP (1830-1), x. 102-3.
  • 32. Baldwin’s Weekly Jnl. 13 Aug.; Surr. Chron. 17 Aug. 1830.
  • 33. The Times, 30 Aug. 1830.
  • 34. Southwark Local Stud. Lib. PC 324, Russell to George Corner, 29 Aug.; Add. 51580, Russell to Lady Holland, 1 Sept.; 51617, Wilson to same, 3 Sept.; The Times, 3 Sept. 1830.
  • 35. The Times, 4 Sept. 1830; E. Lytton, Life of Lord Lytton, 300-4.
  • 36. Add. 51677, Russell to Holland, 6 Sept.; 51670, Bedford to Lady Holland, 12 Sept.; The Times, 7 Sept. 1830.
  • 37. The Times, 7 Oct.; Surr. Chron. 12, 19 Oct. 1830; [W. Carpenter], People’s Bk. 202.
  • 38. The Times, 24-26 Nov.; Surr. Chron. 30 Nov. 1830; Carpenter, 202.
  • 39. CJ, lxxxvi. 445, 456.
  • 40. Ibid. 309, 371, 415; The Times, 9 Mar. 1831.
  • 41. The Times, 25-27 Apr. 1831.
  • 42. Ibid. 30 Apr. 1831.
  • 43. Surr. Chron. 12 Apr. 1831.
  • 44. CJ, lxxxvi. 622; Brayley and Walford, i. 344-5, 361; Southwark Local Stud. Lib., R. Corner, ‘Hist. Notices of Southwark’.
  • 45. PP (1831-2), xxxvi. 176, 237, 256-8; Brayley and Walford, i. 382.
  • 46. C.W. and H.E. Barclay, Hist. Barclay Fam. 288; The Times, 15 Oct. 1831.
  • 47. The Times, 14 May 1832; CJ, lxxxvii. 364.
  • 48. L. Brown, Cat. British Hist. Medals, 1569.
  • 49. The Times, 10 Dec. 1832; Southwark Local Stud. Lib. PC 324, election addresses; Brougham mss, William to Lord Brougham, 1 Dec. 1834.