The IHR holds a large collection of British parliamentary printed poll books. These valuable published primary source documents record the names of voters, for whom they voted, and on occasion, the voters’ place of residence, occupation and the place of the voters’ qualification if different from their place of residence. In addition, the Library’s collection also contains guides, handbooks and reference works for using poll books for historical research.
The collection contains poll books dating from 1698 for a county election in Essex, to the last known published poll book - that held in Cambridge for the constituency of the University of Cambridge in 1882. The rate of publication varied however, so the collection holds no poll books for the counties of Cornwall or Somerset, nor for the North Riding of Yorkshire. Similarly, while the collection contains holdings for Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it should be noted that these collections are significantly smaller than those for England.