Has Oldham had more parliamentary by-elections than any other place in the UK?

On Tuesday I asked: “Which piece of ground in the UK has had the most parliamentary by-elections?”. I genuinely didn’t know the answer to that question when I wrote that post. We had to employ Mounted Police to deal with the deluge of replies to the question. Thanks to Tim Hill for showing interest. Prompted by Tim’s enquiry, I did a bit of research and came up with the following tentative answer.

The Oldham wards of Crompton, Lees and Shaw have had more parliamentary by-elections, spread relatively frequently over two centuries, than any other part of the UK.

Those wards were part of Littleborough and Saddleworth constituency for the by-election there in 1995. They were part of Oldham East and Saddleworth for the by-election there in 2010. And they were part of the old Oldham Borough parliamentary constituency for by-elections there in:

  • 1835
  • 1852
  • 1857
  • 1862
  • 1877
  • 1899
  • 1911
  • 1925

I haven’t exhaustively researched this, so let me know in the comments thread below if you think differently. But I think it’s a fair bet, from my reading of the lists, that those three Oldham wards, or perhaps Oldham itself, have had the most by-elections when looked at over the last two centuries. The nearest contender I could find was the “Combined Scottish Universities” seat which had by-elections in 1936,1938 and 1945. If someone can point me in the direction of a list of pre-1900 by-elections that would be very helpful in nailing this question. I couldn’t find such a list.

I think that where the Oldham by-election frequency record is so impressive is that it covers a good range of pre-1900 and post-1900 by-elections. It’s just a shame that the current Oldham West and Royton by-election doesn’t cover those three wards mentioned above but it does cover wards in the old Oldham Borough such as Chadderton. So, you could actually say that Chadderton and other western wards have had the most by-elections but that would mainly be relying on pre-1900 by-elections. Lees, Crompton and Shaw are the wards in Oldham with the most impressive frequency of pre-1900 and post-1900 by-elections.

But you don’t get away with reading this that lightly! Please help Jane Brophy and the team at Oldham West and Royton in the next few days.

Here’s all the info you need on how to get there:

Address: 51 Union Street, Oldham, OL1 1HH

Phone: 07884 733281

How to get to Oldham West and Royton to help Jane!

By Tram

Trams are the easiest way to get here and are every 12 minutes from Manchester to the Oldham Centre stop less than 2 minutes walk on the same road as our campaign HQ. Just hop on one of the regular trams heading in the direction of Rochdale from Manchester. The trams go through Manchester City Centre or Piccadilly and Victoria Train Stations. It takes roughly 35 minutes from Piccadilly to get here!

By Car

Leave at Junction 22 of the M60 and follow the signs for the A62 to Oldham Town Centre From the M62, leave Junction 20 onto the A627(M) and follow the signs to Oldham Town Centre, then pick up the signs for Spindles Town Square.

Where to park

We have 30 minutes pay and display (but free) parking outside our office which is perfect for quickly picking up leaflets and canvassing – but can be busy! There is 3 hours free parking at the local Sainsbury’s just 2 minute walk to the office. Post code OL1 1DJ For longer trips – park at Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre- Is £6 for over 5 hours. Monday to Saturday 7:00 – 17:30. Sunday 9:30 – 16:30

You can always stay for a few days. We’ve compiled some of the best-priced accommodation in the area, you can find the information here. We also can offer free accommodation with local party members, but these spaces are limited, please email [email protected] if you would like some assistance with accommodation.

If, you can’t get there, and, sadly, it looks increasingly likely that I won’t be able to, you can still help out by doing phone canvassing. Volunteer here. or donate what your fare and accommodation would have cost here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Parliamentary by-elections.


  • If you are coming by rail from Yorkshire get off at ROCHDALE STATION and get the tram from there to Oldham Central. Take care crossing the road from station to tram stop.

  • PHIL THOMAS 27th Nov '15 - 3:06pm

    Looks like Labour are in melt down in Oldham. I suspect UKIP are likely to squeeze all the anti Corbyn votes. Watch out for a shock result ?

  • nvelope2003 27th Nov '15 - 3:10pm

    Labour has been increasing its vote in by elections in the South and South East

  • PHIL THOMAS 27th Nov '15 - 3:25pm

    Oldham is in the North West ??????????????????

  • Richard Marbrow 27th Nov '15 - 9:51pm

    So I live at ground zero for parliamentary by-elections? The Royton wards of Oldham West are ten minutes walk from my house as well…

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