Before they had gerrymandering…

January 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm
filed under research


Rotten boroughs were those where a member of Parliament could be elected by a small number of people, as at Bute in Scotland, where just one resident out of fourteen thousand had the right to vote and so obviously could elect himself. Pocket boroughs were constituencies that had no inhabitants at all but that retained a seat in Parliament, which could be sold or given away (to an unemployable son, say) by the person who controlled it. The most celebrated pocket borough was Dunwich, a coastal town in Suffolk that had once been a great port—the third biggest in England—but was washed into the sea during a storm in 1286. Despite its conspicuous nonexistence, it was represented in Parliament until 1832 by a succession of privileged nonentities

via Amazon Kindle: At Home: A Short History of Private Life.

from: At Home: A Short History of Private Life