Urban District Councils

In the early 19th century local government was largely the responsibility of the vestry, the borough or of improvement commissioners. The Public Health Act of 1848 and the Local Government Act of 1858 permitted the ratepayers to create local boards of health in populous areas not covered by a town vestry or council or by improvement commissioners. These local boards had to appoint a clerk, treasurer, surveyor and inspector of nuisances and were responsible for public health, sewerage, street cleaning, highways and sometimes water supply, burial grounds and building control.

Under the Public Health Act, 1872, the country was divided systematically into urban and rural sanitary authorities: urban sanitary authorities comprised the boroughs, improvement commissions and local boards, and rural sanitary authorities those parts of the poor law unions not already included in an urban sanitary district.

Under the Local Government Act of 1894, these authorities respectively became urban and rural district councils and their powers were extended. They lost most highway powers to the county councils in 1929. Cheshire Archives and Local Studies holds records for many Cheshire Urban District Councils.