Urbanisation and Local Government

  • Bruce Wood


The twin Local Government Acts of 1888 and 1894 saw the consolidation of the Victorian local government structure into very much the form which still exists today. The underlying basis of both Acts was the recognition of the town unit — whether designated as borough or urban district — and the provision of separate municipal institutions for this unit. Hence the immediate link between urbanisation and the local government structure, a link which had its roots far earlier in the nineteenth century (with the Borough reforms of 1835 and the sanitary legislation of the 1840s and later); and which can be traced further back into history with the granting of charters and parliamentary representation to the ancient towns.


Local Government Rural District County Council Urban District BRITISH Society 
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Sources of Data

1. Official Documents (published by HMSO)

  1. Board of Trade, Report on the Census of Distribution and Other Services, Part II (1964).Google Scholar
  2. Department of the Environment, Local Government in England — Government Proposals for Reorganisation, Cmnd 4584 (1971).Google Scholar
  3. General Register Office, Census Reports 1891–1966. Particularly useful are:Google Scholar
  4. (1) General Report 1931 and 1951.Google Scholar
  5. (2) Greater London and Five Other Conurbations, 1951.Google Scholar
  6. (3) Workplace Tables, 1921, 1951, 1961 and 1966.Google Scholar
  7. General Register Office, Registrar-General’s Annual Estimates of the Population of England and Wales and of Local Authority Areas (annual).Google Scholar
  8. Local Government Board, Annual Reports. Particularly useful are:Google Scholar
  9. (1) 18th Report, 1888–9.Google Scholar
  10. (2) 23rd Report, 1893–4.Google Scholar
  11. (3) 24th Report, 1894–5.Google Scholar
  12. Local Government Commission for England, Reports 1–9 (1961–5).Google Scholar
  13. Local Government Commission for Wales, Report and Proposals (1962).Google Scholar
  14. Ministry of Housing and Local Government, Report for 1967 and 1968, Cmnd 4009 (1969).Google Scholar
  15. Ministry of Transport, Highway Statistics (annual).Google Scholar
  16. New Towns Act 1965, Reports of the Development Corporations (annual — published as House of Commons Papers).Google Scholar
  17. New Towns Act 1965, Report of the Commission for the New Towns (annual — published as House of Commons Papers).Google Scholar
  18. Royal Commission on Local Government 1923–9, First Report, Cmd 2506 (1925); Second Report, Cmd 3213 (1928); Minutes of Evidence (1923–9).Google Scholar
  19. Royal Commission on Local Government in England 1966–9, Report Cmnd 4040 (1969) — especially: Vol. 3, Appendices 1–3; Research Studies I, ‘Local Government in South East England’ (1968); Research Studies 9, ‘Community Attitudes Survey: England’ (1969).Google Scholar
  20. Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London 1957–1960, Report, Cmnd 1164 (1960).Google Scholar
  21. Welsh Office, Local Government in Wales, Cmnd 3340 (1967).Google Scholar

2. Acts of Parliament

  1. Local Government Act 1888.Google Scholar
  2. Local Government Act 1894.Google Scholar
  3. Local Government (County Boroughs and Adjustments) Act 1926.Google Scholar
  4. Local Government Act 1929.Google Scholar
  5. New Towns Act 1946.Google Scholar
  6. Town Development Act 1952.Google Scholar
  7. Local Government Act 1958.Google Scholar
  8. London Government Act 1963.Google Scholar
  9. Local Government (Termination of Reviews) Act 1967.Google Scholar

3. Books and Articles

  1. Heather Bliss, ‘Local Changes in Shopping Potential: Difficulties Encountered in Interpreting Census of Distribution Data’, J. Town Planning Inst., 51 (8), 1965.Google Scholar
  2. T. W. Freeman, The Conurbations of Great Britain (Manchester U.P. 1959).Google Scholar
  3. T. W. Freeman, Geography and Regional Administration (Hutchinson 1968).Google Scholar
  4. R. Lawton, ‘The Journey to Work in Britain: Some Trends and Problems’, Regional Studies, 2 (1), 1968.Google Scholar
  5. V. D. Lipman, Local Government Areas 1834–1945 (Blackwell, Oxford 1949).Google Scholar
  6. D. C. Marsh, The Changing Social Structure of England and Wales 1871–1951 (Routledge 1958).Google Scholar
  7. Municipal Year Book (annual)Google Scholar
  8. F.J. Osborn and A. Whittick, The New Towns, 2nd ed. (Leonard Hill 1969).Google Scholar
  9. J. Redlich and F. W. Hirst, The History of Local Government in England (Macmillan 1958; reissued 1970).Google Scholar
  10. G. Rhodes, The Government of London: The Struggle for Reform (Weidenfeld 1970).Google Scholar
  11. P. G. Richards, ‘Local Government Reform: the Smaller Towns and the Countryside’, Urban Studies, 2 (2), 1965.Google Scholar
  12. W. A. Robson, Local Government in Crisis, 2nd ed. (Allen & Unwin 1968).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© A. H. Halsey 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Wood

There are no affiliations available

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