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Tynwald Library Exhibition Space  


The Tynwald Library is currently displaying an exhibition showing the events that led to the first popular election to the House of Keys, previously a self-elected body.

The path to reform was not straight forward and took many years. Learn about the journalists Robert Fargher and James Brown; the role of the Governor at the time, Governor Loch, who was the main negotiator; and of course the election itself. 
Before the election act a vacancy only occurred in the House of Keys only upon death, resignation or promotion to a position in the Legislative Council. The Act entitled anyone to be a Member of the House of Keys as long as they were males, aged at least twenty-one who were owners of real estate of the value of £100 and over or who were owners of real estate of the annual value of £50 and had a yearly personal income of £100 and over. Although we may think this is restricted today, up until 1866 when a vacancy occurred the Keys nominated two persons to the Lieutenant Governor for his decision as to which one should then be appointed. 

In April 1867, the first elections for the House of Keys were held. The qualifications for voters were that they must be males aged at least twenty-one who were owners of real estate with an annual value of not less than £8. Tenants had to occupy land or tenements with an annual rent of not less than £12. 


Women (widows and spinsters who owned property of a set value) would have to wait until 1881 to gain suffrage when the Isle of Man became the first country to give women the right to vote. 



The Tynwald Library is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. The Tynwald Library is on the ground floor of the Legislative Buildings on Finch Road. 


There is more information on our History pages about the events and figures behind the reform movement. 


Located on the ground floor of the Legislative Buildings in Finch Road the Tynwald Library exhibition space provides schools, youth, community and sporting organisations, as well as private individuals and commercial enterprises, with a secure, easily managed area in which to mount Manx-themed displays.  There is no rental charge, only a small commission fee for sales by commercial operators.

Tel:     +44 (0)1624 685520

For more details on any of the Tynwald Library’s exhibitions or the exhibition space please call 685520 or email