East Ham: Parliamentary representation

Pages 24-25

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.

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Under the Representation of the People Act (1918) East Ham (previously in the Romford division) became a parliamentary borough with two divisions. (fn. 1) At the general election of 1918 two Liberals were returned, one of whom, representing East Ham (North) was Sir John (later Lord) Bethell, who had long been connected with the borough. (fn. 2) In 1922 one Conservative and one Labour member were elected. The latter, representing East Ham (South), was Alfred Barnes, who had been born at North Woolwich. He held the seat from 1922 to 1931 and again from 1935 to 1955. Except in 1931, when a Conservative captured it, East Ham (South) has been held by Labour at every general election up to and including that of 1966. East Ham (North) was, until 1945, a marginal constituency. In 1923 it was won by Miss Susan Lawrence, one of the first women Labour M.P.s. She was defeated in 1924 by a Conservative, but regained the seat at a byelection in 1926 and held it until 1931. (fn. 3) It was won in 1931 by the Conservative (Sir) John Mayhew, who held it in 1935. In 1945 it was regained for Labour, which has held it at every subsequent election, including that of 1966.


  • 1. E.R. xxvii. 61. This section is based on Whitaker's Almanack for the relevant years, and on the M.P.s' biographies in Who's Who. E.H.L. Pamphlets include a number relating to Parliamentary elections.
  • 2. See p. 20.
  • 3. For her career see D.N.B. 1941–50.