DescriptionThough the Commissioners always met in St George's vestry, the Commission was established in 1777 to serve St John Wapping as well as St George-in-the-East, under the following legislation: "An Act for opening Communications between Wapping Street and Ratcliff Highway, and between Old Gravel Lane and Virginia Street, and for paving certain Streets intended to be built, and also certain other Streets and public passages within the parishes of St George and St John of Wapping in the County of Middlesex" (17 Geo. III) and "An Act for explaining & amending two Acts, one made in the 11th & the other in the 17th year of his present Majesty's reign, for paving certain Streets in the parishes of St John of Wapping and St George in the county of Middlesex, & for other purposes & for extending the provisions of the said Acts to other parts of the said parishes" (22 Geo.III).
AdminHistoryBoards of improvement commissioners were ad hoc urban local government boards created during the 18th and 19th centuries. Around 300 boards were created in total, each by a private Act of Parliament, typically termed an Improvement Act. The powers of the boards varied according to the acts which created them; however, they often included street paving, cleansing, lighting, providing watchmen or dealing with various public nuisances. Those with restricted powers might be called lighting commissioners, paving commissioners, police commissioners, etc. Essentially then, the boards performed a number of the functions of local government, and indeed they are often viewed as forerunners of modern forms of municipal governance.

Improvement Acts empowered the commissioners to fund their work by levying rates. Some acts specified named individuals to act as commissioners, who replenished their number by co-option. Other commissions held elections at which all ratepayers could vote, while some took all those paying above a certain rate as automatic members.

Improvement commissioners were gradually superseded by reformed municipal boroughs (from 1835) and boards of health (from 1848), which absorbed commissioners' powers by promoting private acts.
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