Romford: Parliamentary representation

Page 82

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 7. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.

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The Romford (or Southern) division, formed in 1885, was a large county constituency comprising the liberty of Havering, Barking, Dagenham, Ilford, and East Ham. (fn. 1) John Westlake (Liberal) narrowly won the seat in 1885, but in 1886, standing as a Liberal Unionist opposed by a Gladstonian Liberal, he came bottom of the poll, and lost the seat to James Theobald (Conservative) of Bedfords Park, Havering. The Conservatives held Romford until 1906, when it was recaptured for the Liberals by (Sir) John Bethell (Bt.), later Lord Bethell; he held it in 1910. (fn. 2)

In 1918 the Romford division was altered to comprise Romford rural district, and the urban districts of Romford and Barking. (fn. 3) At the general election of that year the seat was won by a Coalition Liberal, who held it in 1922 as a National Liberal. Romford was later held in turn by the Conservatives (1923–9, 1931–5) and Labour (1929–31, 1935–45).

The Parliamentary borough of Romford, formed in 1945, was originally coincident with the municipal borough of Romford. It was enlarged in 1948 to include Brentwood urban district, but in 1955 Brentwood was transferred to Billericay county constituency. (fn. 4) Romford was held by Labour from 1945 to 1950, and from 1955 to 1970; the Conservatives held it from 1950 to 1955. Boundary changes, which took effect in 1974, created three new constituencies for the borough of Havering: Upminster, Hornchurch, and Romford. The new Romford constituency was won by the Conservatives in February 1974 and held in November 1974.


  • 1. E.R. iii. 86; Kelly's Dir. Essex (1886), 5.
  • 2. For elections to 1910 see McCalmont's Parliamentary Register, ed. J. Vincent and M. Stenton, 83.
  • 3. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1922), 5. For elections 1918–66 see E.J. iii. 179 sqq.; iv. 9 sqq.
  • 4. O.S. Maps, Essex, Admin. Areas (1948 and 1955 edns.). For elections 1966–74 see Dod's Parliamentary Companion.