SAHAAS AGM followed by Lecture: 'A Fiver for your Vote, Sir' - Bribery and Corruption in St Albans, 1850

at Marlborough Road Methodist Church, AL1 3XG

Speakers: Ann Dean, Rob Weston and Tony Berk.

In 1850/51 an immense scandal rocked St Albans which had both local and national implications. The town was caught bribing voters in the by-election of Christmas 1850. At the time, election bribery was, quietly, a normal part of the process in the country at large, but a complaint was made and we were caught!  In 1851 a Commission was set up in Parliament, and ultimately in the town, to examine the evidence.  Witnesses were called, proceedings were initiated, the verdict given and punishment meted out.   This talk tells the surprising story of the events from the beginning.  It introduces the colourful central characters, describes the events as they occurred and tells of the aftermath and the fate of those involved and indeed, of St Albans itself.

Ann Dean has been a member of the Society since the 1970s.  She qualified as a St Albans City Blue Badge Guide in 1996.  She is Hon. Archivist to St Michael’s Church and an HALH Committee Member.

Rob Weston, born in north London just before the Second World War, has resided in St Albans since 1964.  Always interested in history he became a St Albans Tour Guide in 1982 and obtained his Blue Badge in 1996. He retired from guiding in 2006, since which time he has remained an Honorary Member.  He was Chairman of this Society’s Architectural and Local History Group for three years in the early 2000s.

Tony Berk is a St Albans Green Badge Guide and has been a lecturer and professional technical writer for most of his life.  He has been interested in history for many years and particularly the history of our local area.  He currently serves as Chairperson of the Society’s Programme Development Committee.

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