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prevailed between 1861 and 1871 has, since the last-mentioned date, not only been maintained but considerably exceeded,


The voluminous additions to the statute book since the year 1863 have vastly enlarged the sphere of action of the Metropolitan Boards and Vestries, and embrace within their range almost every branch of local and sanitary administration. The Acts relative to the multifarious operations of the Metropolitan Board of Works as described in their last annual report are, with the statutes passed in the last Session of Parliament, nearly a hundred in number to which must be added, in a survey of metropolitan local legislation, a large body of Acts especially appertaining to the general powers and duties of Vestries and District Boards, or relating to limited districts and special localities. In dealing with a mass of material of such extent and diversity, it has been found necessary to make a selection, and to print in extenso only those statutes which relate to the principal ordinary functions of the Metropolitan Authorities, and to embody in notes to those statutes a reference to the material provisions of such enactments as were considered of subordinate practical importance or less general application.

The present volume contains a large number of Acts which were not comprised in the former edition, whilst three or four only are omitted-namely, those authorizing the construction of those great structural works now completed, the Main Drainage and the Embankments of the Thames. The Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, 1848, is also omitted, by reason of its great length;

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it having been deemed sufficient to refer to its main provisions in the notes, as to have printed it in its entirety would have necessitated the exclusion of matter of greater practical utility.

The arrangement in the present collection is substantially similar to that adopted in the former edition. The body of the work comprises the original Act constituting and incorporating the Metropolitan Board and the Vestries and District Boards, with the two principal amending Acts; whilst the Appendix contains statutes relating to the continuance and appropriation of funds applicable to special metropolitan improvements, the borrowing of money by the Metropolitan Board, and the assessments of that body; a few Acts supplementing the provisions of the original enactments in reference to matters either omitted from or inadequately dealt with by them; and a series of enactments directed to various important objects connected with the health, safety, convenience, and material and social well-being of the community, such as the protection of life and property against danger from fire, the storage and conveyance of explosives, for ensuring effectual control over the sites, foundations, and construction of buildings, the prevention and suppression of nuisances, and the enforcement of proper sanitary regulations, for preventing the adulteration or deterioration of food and drugs, and the execution of works for protecting low-lying lands from floods and inundations, with various others. Some of these require special notice here.

The Metropolitan Board of Works (Loans) Act, 1869, was a

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measure which effected extensive alterations in the powers and proceedings of that Board as regarded borrowing and assessment. It restrained them, except for a limited period after its passing, from borrowing any money otherwise than in conformity with its provisions, and empowered them to create Metropolitan Consolidated Stock and Terminable Annuities. It required them, in lieu of all other rates or assessments over the Metropolis, to raise a Metropolitan Consolidated Rate, and established a Consolidated Loans Fund for paying dividends on and redeeming Consolidated Stock. It enabled them to lend money to the managers of the Metropolitan Asylums District, a provision extended by subsequent legislation to loans to Vestries and District Boards and other public bodies exercising rating powers in the Metropolis. The subsequent Loans and Money Acts of the same Board are referred to in the notes in such a manner as to present a connected view of the existing statute law governing this important branch of their financial proceedings.

Another Act requiring observation is the Nuisances Removal Act for England, 1855, with the series of statutes by which it was amended and extended. Unfortunately the law for the prevention and suppression of nuisances and enforcing proper sanitary regulations within the metropolitan area must still be sought for in a multiplicity of scattered and isolated enactments, which, though repealed by the Public Health Act, 1875, as to the rest of the kingdom, are still kept in force in the Metropolis. The Local Government Board, in 1877, introduced into Parliament a Bill proposing, amongst other objects, to repeal the whole of these

Acts, and to re-enact their main provisions with modifications. The measure failed to secure the approval and support of the Metropolitan authorities; and, after having reached the second reading, it was withdrawn. The principal ground on which the Bill was objected to was, that it proposed to introduce the Local Government Board as a controlling authority over the Vestries and District Boards, involving, it was said, a prejudicial interference with the independence of those bodies. It is to be regretted that no course was suggested by which the conflicting views of the promoters and opponents of the Bill could be reconciled, and a convenient and beneficial measure allowed to become law, either by the omission, or by some modification of the provisions objected to.

Another imp ortant measure, which will be found in the Appendix, is the Metropolis Management and Building Acts (Amendment) Act, 1879), which effects a beneficial extension of the original Building Act. Amongst other provisions, it empowers the Metropolitan Board in certain cases to cause alterations to be made in existing theatres and music-halls, and to make regulations respecting the position and structure of new buildings of that description; and it empowers the same Body to make bye-laws with respect to the foundations and sites of houses, buildings, &c., and to the mode in which, and material with which, such foundations and sites are to be made and completed for securing stability, preventing fire, and for purposes of health. The Board have, under this last provision, framed a set of bye-laws for giving effect to the objects contemplated by the Act. These bye-laws

which, amongst other requirements, contain stringent regulations with respect to the foundations and sites of buildings, and the description and quality of the substances of walls were confirmed by the Secretary of State as recently as on the 6th of the present month (October, 1879), and they appear thoroughly adapted to give effect to the salutary powers conferred by the Act upon the Metropolitan Board.

The number of new statutes appertaining to the functions of the Metropolitan Local Authorities increases year by year, and even in the Session of Parliament just ended several important measures affecting the Metropolis have become law, several of them, however, of too late a period to admit of their being inserted in the body of the work. It has, consequently, become necessary to print them as a Supplement. As several of these make important alterations in the earlier Acts, and materially qualify some of the decisions cited in the notes, it becomes necessary to give a succinct summary of their main provisions here.

One of the most important of these measures is the Metropolis Management (Thames River, Prevention of Floods) Act, 1879, which did not receive the Royal Assent until the 11th August last. This enactment demands special notice as containing a statutory affirmation of the general law applicable to the obligations of owners and occupiers of low-lying lands liable to inundation, though modified and conditioned by the special requirements of the localities affected by it, and as materially altering some of the provisions of the Management Act of

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