Thomas Wright Hill (24 April 1763 in Kidderminster – 13 June 1851 in Tottenham) was a mathematician and schoolmaster. He is credited as inventing the single transferable vote in 1819. His son, Rowland Hill, famous as the originator of the modern postal system, introduced STV in 1840 into the world's first public election, for the Adelaide City Council, in which the principle of proportional representation was applied.
Kidderminster is a town in Worcestershire, England, 17 miles (27 km) south-west of Birmingham and 15 miles (24 km) north of Worcester. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 55,530. The town is twinned with Husum, Germany.
Tottenham is a district of North London, England, in the London Borough of Haringey. It is 5.9 miles (9.5 km) north-north-east of Charing Cross and lies inbetween Edmonton, Walthamstow, Harringay, Stamford Hill and Wood Green.
Adelaide is the capital city of the state of South Australia, and the fifth-most populous city of Australia. The demonym Adelaidean is used to denote the city and its residents.
In 1791, Thomas Wright Hill courageously tried to save the apparatus of Dr Joseph Priestley from a mob in the Birmingham 'Church and King' riots of 1791—the offer was declined.
Joseph Priestley was an 18th-century English Separatist theologian, natural philosopher, chemist, innovative grammarian, multi-subject educator, and liberal political theorist who published over 150 works. He has historically been credited with the discovery of oxygen, having isolated it in its gaseous state, although Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Antoine Lavoisier also have strong claims to the discovery.
The Priestley Riots took place from 14 July to 17 July 1791 in Birmingham, England; the rioters' main targets were religious dissenters, most notably the politically and theologically controversial Joseph Priestley. Both local and national issues stirred the passions of the rioters, from disagreements over public library book purchases, to controversies over Dissenters' attempts to gain full civil rights and their support of the French Revolution.
He was interested in astronomy, being a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and in computers, as is shown by a letter of his to Charles Babbage, dated 23 March 1836, among the Babbage manuscripts at the British Library, returning some logarithm tables that he had borrowed and adding "How happy I shall be when I can see such a work verified and enlarged by your divine machine".
Charles Babbage was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage originated the concept of a digital programmable computer.
He started work as a brassfounder, but was more interested in intellectual pursuits, so in 1802 he bought a boys' school on Lionel Street, Birmingham moving it to Hill Top, Gough Street. In 1819, it moved again to a new purpose-built school designed by Rowland at Hazelbrook called Hazelwood on Hagley Road in Edgbaston.
Birmingham is the second-largest city and metropolitan area in England and the United Kingdom, with roughly 1.1 million inhabitants within the city area and 3.8 million inhabitants within the metropolitan area as of their most recent estimates, which also makes Birmingham the 17th largest city and 8th largest metropolitan area in the European Union. Although there has been noticeable attention towards the status of Manchester as a potentially more significant major city than Birmingham due to its growth and development in recent years, as well as Manchester having a larger urban area, Birmingham is still commonly referred to as the nation's "second city".
Edgbaston is a small town and suburban area of central Birmingham, England, curved around the southwest of the city centre. It is bordered by Moseley to the south east and by Smethwick and Winson Green to the north west.
From the start the school seems to have been out of the ordinary. In its original prospectus Hill says that "he will make it his study to excite [his pupils'] reasoning powers, and to induce in them habits of voluntary application ... he will always endeavour, by kindness and patience, to secure for himself their affection and esteem"; perhaps not revolutionary aims nowadays, but this was more than 25 years before Thomas Arnold became headmaster of Rugby or Charles Dickens wrote Nicholas Nickleby. It is also noteworthy that he was offering "instruction in art and science". How many schools at that date would have thought of including science in their curriculum?
Thomas Arnold was an English educator and historian. Arnold was an early supporter of the Broad Church Anglican movement. He was the headmaster of Rugby School from 1828 to 1841, where he introduced a number of reforms that were widely copied by other prestigious public schools. His reforms redefined standards of masculinity and achievement.
Rugby School is a day and mostly boarding co-educational independent school in Rugby, Warwickshire, England. Founded in 1567 as a free grammar school for local boys, it is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain. Up to 1667, the school remained in comparative obscurity. Its re-establishment by Thomas Arnold during his time as Headmaster, from 1828 to 1841, was seen as the forerunner of the Victorian public school. It is one of the original seven Great Nine Public Schools defined by the Clarendon Commission of 1864. Rugby School was also the birthplace of Rugby football. In 1845, a committee of Rugby schoolboys wrote the "Laws of Football as Played At Rugby School", the first published set of laws for any code of football.
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and short stories are still widely read today.
At Hazelwood School, with his sons now bearing a full share in its running, it became a school in which the rules were formed by a committee of the boys, elected by the boys, and enforced by the boys' own law court. Whether or not that is a good way to run a school, the amazing thing is that it existed at all at that time.
In 1827 a London branch of the school was opened at Bruce Castle, Tottenham, and within a few years all the Hazelwood students had transferred to Bruce Castle, which had been taken over almost entirely by his sons. Hazelwood then became the home of Francis Clark and his wife Caroline (daughter of Thomas Wright Hill) and their large and growing family. They remained there for fifteen years before emigrating to South Australia.
Bruce Castle is a Grade I listed 16th-century manor house in Lordship Lane, Tottenham, London. It is named after the House of Bruce who formerly owned the land on which it is built. Believed to stand on the site of an earlier building, about which little is known, the current house is one of the oldest surviving English brick houses. It was remodelled in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Francis Clark and Son was an engineering business in the early days of South Australia, founded by Francis Clark (1799–1853), previously a silversmith and magistrate in Birmingham, England.
South Australia is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. It has a total of 1.7 million people, and its population is the second most highly centralised in Australia, after Western Australia, with more than 77 percent of South Australians living in the capital, Adelaide, or its environs. Other population centres in the state are relatively small; Mount Gambier, the second largest centre, has a population of 28,684.
Thomas Hill and his sons had strong political views which, at that time, were certainly radical, but always with the conviction that reforms had to come by persuasion, and constitutionally, not by violence. During the agitation leading up to the Great Reform Act of 1832, the fifth son Frederic Hill was freed from duties at the school to devote his time to an active part in the struggle as part of the Birmingham Union. A letter to his son Edwin, dated 15 May 1832, says "These my dear boy are stirring times ... the enthusiasm and unanimity of the mass who form the Birmingham Union is at once delightful and astonishing. I hope that it will be kept quite within the law. Let the honour of a vigour surmounting that boundary belong to our adversaries; they will not find such forbearance as they may have met with in days past". As his contribution to the cause "I am abstaining from tea, coffee, sugar etc., as taxed articles. Would that the massive unions would concur. The revenue then would soon require parliamentary help, and funds would be reserved for useful purposes. But this kind of passive procedure is too much to hope for as a general procedure".
He does not seem to have disapproved of a little political trickery, provided the right side was doing it. Writing to his wife, dated 11 May 1831, about the "patriotic fellows of Haddington" including her brother, he says "Their district has five boroughs which choose a member of parliament by one [delegate] from each borough. Haddington was firm and Jedburgh was firm in the good cause. Dunbar was Rotten and the same was North Berwick. Lauder had seven good men in the council out of sixteen. By excellent management the men of Haddington brought away two councilmen from Lauder and entertained them until the business was accomplished, so that now three delegates out of the five are sound reformers ... It is a glorious victory and a proud thing for us to have so near a relative bearing such a part in it".
In spite of radical views, he evidently thought well of King George III, for in a letter dated 9 February 1820, just after George IV's accession, he wrote to his son Matthew "How did your taste accord with bell-ringing and huzzas at the King's proclamation? To me, connected as it was with the death of our late aged and virtuous monarch it was revolting, even to hear of; I saw nothing of the pageantry".
In 1819, Thomas and Rowland were instrumental in founding the Society for Literary and Scientific Improvement of Birmingham. The Society's bylaws include a description of Hill's method of proportional representation, the earliest known versionof the single transferable vote:
According to Hill's great-great-great grandson David Hill (also a reform activist) the first STV election actually took place on 18 December 1819 one month after the establishment of the society.
Hill's grandson (and Rowland's nephew) George Birkbeck Norman Hill wrote, "The plan of election had been devised by his [Rowland's] father who … was strongly in favour of the representation of minorities."
In 1821, Hill used an informal version of proportional representation in his school.
Although this seems likely to be true, when Enid Lakeman was asked for the source of it she could not remember it. It would be wise to regard it with caution until an original reference can be found.
Following his death various papers that he had left behind were published in two booklets. The firsthas contents:
The secondhas contents:
Thomas Wright Hill married Sarah Lea (1765–1842) on 29 July 1791 at St Martin's Church, Birmingham and had 8 children:
Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party as their favorite, then roughly n% of seats will be won by that party. The essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result—not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats.
The single transferable vote (STV) is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through ranked voting in multi-seat organizations or constituencies. Under STV, an elector (voter) has a single vote that is initially allocated to their most preferred candidate. Votes are totalled, and a quota derived. If their candidate achieves the quota, they are elected and in some STV systems any surplus vote is transferred to other candidates in proportion to the voters' stated preferences. If more candidates than seats remain, the bottom candidate is eliminated with their votes being transferred to other candidates as determined by the voters' stated preferences. These elections and eliminations, and vote transfers if applicable, continue until there are only as many candidates as there are unfilled seats. The specific method of transferring votes varies in different systems.
Sir Thomas Hare was a British proponent of electoral reform.
Matthew Davenport Hill was an English lawyer and penologist.
The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) is a political pressure group based in the United Kingdom which promotes electoral reform. It seeks to replace the first-past-the-post voting system with one of proportional representation, advocating the single transferable vote. It is the world's oldest operating organisation concerned with political and electoral reform.
The New South Wales Legislative Council, often referred to as the upper house, is one of the two chambers of the parliament of the Australian state of New South Wales. The other is the Legislative Assembly. Both sit at Parliament House in the state capital, Sydney. It is normal for legislation to be first deliberated on and passed by the Legislative Assembly before being considered by the Legislative Council, which acts in the main as a house of review.
BC-STV is the proposed voting system recommended by the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform in October 2004 for use in British Columbia, and belongs to the single transferable vote family of voting systems. BC-STV was supported by a majority (57.7%) of the voters in a referendum held in 2005 but the government had legislated that it would not be bound by any vote lower than 60% in favour. Because of the strong majority support for BC-STV, the government elected to stage a second referendum in 2009, but with increased public funding for information campaigns to better inform the electorate about the differences between the existing and proposed systems. The leadership of both the "yes" side and the "no" side were assigned by the government. The proposal was rejected with 60.9% voting against, vs. 39.1% in favour, in the 2009 vote.
The single transferable vote (STV) is a voting system based on proportional representation and ranked voting. Under STV, an elector's vote is initially allocated to his or her most-preferred candidate. After candidates have been either elected (winners) by reaching quota or eliminated (losers), surplus votes are transferred from winners to remaining candidates (hopefuls) according to the surplus ballots' ordered preferences.
Sir Rowland Hill, KCB, FRS was an English teacher, inventor and social reformer. He campaigned for a comprehensive reform of the postal system, based on the concept of Uniform Penny Post and his solution of pre-payment, facilitating the safe, speedy and cheap transfer of letters. Hill later served as a government postal official, and he is usually credited with originating the basic concepts of the modern postal service, including the invention of the postage stamp.
Edwin Hill was a Victorian postal official, the older brother of Rowland Hill, who invented a mechanical system to make envelopes and who campaigned for legal and political change.
Historically, the single transferable vote (STV) electoral system has seen a series of relatively modest periods of usage and disusage throughout the world; however, today it is seeing increasing popularity and proposed implementation as a method of electoral reform. STV has been used in many different local, regional and national electoral systems, as well as in various other types of bodies, around the world.
Charles Rollin Buckalew was an American lawyer and Democratic party politician from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. He served in the state senate and represented Pennsylvania in both the U.S. House and Senate. He was a graduate of Harford Academy, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where he studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1843.
Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is a voting method used in single-seat elections with more than two candidates. Instead of voting only for a single candidate, voters in IRV elections can rank the candidates in order of preference. Ballots are initially counted for each elector's top choice, losing candidates are eliminated, and ballots for losing candidates are redistributed until one candidate is the top remaining choice of a majority of the voters. When the field is reduced to two, it has become an "instant runoff" that allows a comparison of the top two candidates head-to-head.
Multi-member constituencies existed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom and its predecessor bodies in the component parts of the United Kingdom from the earliest era of elected representation until they were abolished by the Representation of the People Act 1948. Since the 1950 general election, all members of the House of Commons have been elected from single-member constituencies.
Frederic Hill was a prison inspector in Scotland and England, and a social and economic reformer.
The Wright system is a refinement of rules associated with proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote (PR-STV) electoral system. It was developed and written by Anthony van der Craats, a system analyst and life member of the Proportional Representation Society of Australia. It is described in a submission into a parliamentary review of the 2007 Australian federal election.
Electoral reform is change in electoral systems to improve how public desires are expressed in election results. That can include reforms of:
Bruce Castle School, at Bruce Castle, Tottenham, was a progressive school for boys established in 1827 as an extension of Rowland Hill's Hazelwood School at Edgbaston. It closed in 1891.
James John Hill, known also by his alias J. J. Hill, was an English landscape and portrait painter, known for his many rustic paintings and portraits of Lady Burdett-Coutts.
Rural–urban proportional representation (RUP), also called Flexible District PR, is a hybrid proportional system designed by Fair Vote Canada with the intention of meeting the special challenges of Canada's geography, which includes wide-flung, sparsely-populated areas. As conceived in general terms by Fair Vote Canada, the rural–urban proportional model combines the use of multi-member ridings and top-up seats to meet the different needs of both rural and urban areas, while protecting the objective of proportionality. Sweden, Denmark and Iceland use similar voting models.