The fact that the reform bill of 1867 was the work of a Conservative government has always seemed paradoxical, although it became clear soon after its passage that the bill was less of a paradox than supposed at first. Like the great Reform Act of 1832, the Act of 1867 produced profoundly conservative consequences, and they were conservative with a large as well as a small “c,” conservative in a narrowly partisan as well as a broadly social sense. The Act was certainly conservative in that it was an early concession to public opinion, or what Burke would have called a timely Reformation. It postponed further reform for nearly 20 years, and as G. D. H. Cole said ironically, that was a considerable achievement. In the general election of 1874 there were already signs that the bill had produced a great deal of solidly Conservative voting in the suburbs that ringed the large English borough constituencies. Moreover, when reform did come again in 1884 and 1885, it shifted constituency boundaries to take in middle class Conservative suburbs, and by creating electoral districts that were more or less equal, it shifted representation in the direction of the southeast, a commercial region dominated by light industry and therefore eminently Conservative. After 1885 there were many more constituencies, and they were smaller and cheaper to contest. It is very likely also that they were more homogeneously middle or working class, and that more Conservative politicians were now coming from the middle class and more Liberals from the working class. The electorate and the parliament which it influenced were moving in a recognizably modern direction after 1885, without having suffered the dire democratic fate envisioned in 1867.