a parliamentary borough returning one member by
the Reform Act of 1832. Walsall Wood and Shelfield
were excluded from the constituency, the boundary
of which was otherwise that of the parish. (fn. 70) In 1868
the boundary was extended to include those parts
of Rushall which were added to the administrative
borough in 1876 and 1890. (fn. 71) In 1955 the constituency
was divided into two seats, Walsall North and Walsall South, and new areas were added. Brownhills
urban district, including Walsall Wood, was transferred from Cannock constituency to Walsall North,
and Aldridge urban district from Lichfield and Tamworth constituency to Walsall South. (fn. 72) Under an
Order of 1970 Brownhills and Aldridge were detached from the Walsall constituencies to form the
new constituency of Aldridge-Brownhills; Willenhall (in St. Peter's, Wolverhampton) was added to
Walsall North, and Darlaston to Walsall South. (fn. 73)
The Order took effect at the general election of
Walsall's first member was C. S. Forster, a Tory
and a local banker and former mayor. He held the
seat until 1837, when it was captured by a Liberal
who retired in 1841. In the by-election of February
1841 J. N. Gladstone, brother of W. E. Gladstone,
gained the seat for the Conservatives. He narrowly
defeated a candidate sponsored by the Anti-Corn
Law League, which was intervening for the first
time in a parliamentary election. In June, however,
the league's candidate recovered the seat for the
Liberals. (fn. 74) In 1847 there were two Liberal candidates, Charles Forster, son of C. S. Forster, and the
Hon. E. R. Littleton (later Baron Hatherton).
Forster's supporters alleged that if Littleton were
elected Walsall would become a pocket borough. (fn. 75)
Littleton nevertheless won the seat, which he held
for five years. (fn. 76) In 1852 Forster was returned unopposed, and he remained member for Walsall until
his death in 1891; he was created a baronet in 1874. (fn. 77)
There were Liberal members from 1891 to 1892,
1893 to 1895, 1900 to 1910, and 1922 to 1924. Conservatives represented the town in the intervening
years and from 1924 to 1929 when the first Labour
member was returned. In 1931 J. A. Leckie, who
stood as a National Liberal, gained the seat. On his
death in 1938 another National Liberal was elected
and served until 1945. (fn. 78) A Labour member held the
borough from 1945 to 1955. When the constituency
was divided he was elected member for Walsall
North, while Walsall South was taken by a Conservative. Both members held their seats until 1974. (fn. 79)
In the general elections of February and October
that year Labour members were returned for both
the Walsall seats and for the new Aldridge-Brownhills seat. (fn. 80)
V.C.H. Staffs. i. 272; S. Lewis, Topog. Dict. Eng.
(1835), v, plate lxxxiii.
||The Boundary Act, 1868, 31 & 32 Vic. c. 46, first
sched.; above p. 217.
||The Parliamentary Constituencies (South East Staffs.)
Order, 1955, S.I. 1955, no. 170.
||The Parliamentary Constituencies (England) Order
1970, S.I. 1970, no. 1674, pp. 1, 28, 66-7.
||Willmore, Walsall, 410-17; Homeshaw, Walsall, 157;
N. McCord, The Anti-Corn Law League 1838-1846, 83,
85-6, 88-9, 95.
Staffs. Advertiser, 24 and 31 July 1847; Willmore,
||Willmore, Walsall, 417-18.
||K. J. Dean, Town & Westminster (Walsall, 1972), 3;
Willmore, Walsall, 418.
||Dean, Town & Westminster, 169, 247.
||Ibid. 253; Who's Who (1972), 810, 3381.
The Times, 2 Mar., 12 Oct. 1974.