Registers of Parliamentary electors were introduced by the 1832 Reform Act. A voter’s name must be on them in order to cast a vote.
They have been compiled annually since 1832, except for:
- 1916–17 and 1940–44 inclusive during the World Wars
- 1919–26 and 1945–49 when the registers were compiled twice a year.
All registers list the name (usually surname, first name and initials) of the voter and an address.
Until 1918, the registers included:
- the qualification that entitled the person to vote
- details of their current residence
- the address of property owned in the constituency or polling district.
Following the 1918 Representation of the People Act it stated that, wherever possible, the register should be published in street order with no surname index.
From 1928–1970 the abbreviation 'Y' was used to denote someone who would reach the age of 21 during the first half of the year in which the register was in force. After 1970, the date of birth is given for anyone approaching the age of 18.