RepositoryArchives
Ref NoL/SMW/C
LevelSub-fonds
TitleRECORDS OF PAVING COMMISSIONS
Date1771-1853
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 (as in this case), 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Improvement commissioners were gradually superseded by reformed municipal boroughs (from 1835) and boards of health (from 1848), which absorbed commissioners' powers by promoting private acts.
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