AS voters go to the polls today in the December cold ­— and most likely rain, knowing Bury ­— they will be the first to do so in almost a century.

The 2019 General Election is the first to be held in winter since 1923. At the time the country was still reeling from the First World War, the Flying Scotsman made its maiden journey, Wembley hosted its first FA Cup final and Britain’s empire spanned a fifth of the globe.

Bury of the early 1920s was a town remarkably different from the one we find today, at the heart of the industrialised North.

A Lancashire cotton town through and through, Bury was home to dozens of mills and factory works which employed many of its 133,000 residents.

The textile industry brought affluence to some, but poverty to many. Fortunate workers lucky enough to find employment could expect to take home a measly average salary of £140 a year ­— equivalent to little over £7,000 in today’s money.

On a trip to the grocers a loaf of bread would cost you well under a penny and a pint of milk less than thruppence ­— while a pint of beer would set you back around 5d.

And it was under these conditions that, in a situation not too dissimilar to today, Bury returned to the ballot box for the third time in five years.

The General Election of 1923 was precipitated by the illness of Conservative Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law who resigned after just 209 days in office.

He was succeeded by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Stanley Baldwin, who inherited a sizeable majority in the Commons, won at the election the previous year.

Although Baldwin could have waited four years before going to the polls, he was keen to receive a mandate from the electorate and fortify his position as Tory leader, and consequently called an election for December 6.

Bury’s Parliamentary seat was contested by Unionist Charles Ainsworth, a colonel in the Lancashire Fusiliers who had served in the Middle East during the First World War.

Ainsworth had held the seat since 1918 but was challenged by Labour’s Harry Wallace and Liberal James Duckworth.

More than 80 per cent of Bury’s 32,803 electors turned out to vote ­— returning Ainsworth to his seat by a narrow margin of just over 1,100 votes from Wallace.

Nationally the election was a calamity for Baldwin who saw his majority slashed as seats fell to both Labour and the Liberals, resulting in a hung Parliament.

Labour would go on to form a Government for the first time, under Ramsay MacDonald, propped up by the Liberals.

However, after just 10 months, MacDonald’s minority Government collapsed and Baldwin was returned to the premiership after a landslide victory at the 1924 general election.

Ainsworth again held on to his seat that year, securing the fourth of his six election victories.