old province of a municipal authority. Not that the transference of "the administrative business of the Justices of the Peace" made much difference to county boroughs, for the powers transferred under that expression were for the most part already exercised by the Town Council under the municipal and sanitary codes, or under local Acts, the most important exception being the licensing of theatres, ballrooms, pawnshops, etc. The repair of county bridges and their approaches was also transferred from Quarter Sessions to the county borough councils, and also the appointment of coroners where the county borough formed a complete coroner's district in itself.3

Education, railways, and


An important addition to the general powers of county borough councils was made two years later by the Local Taxation (Customs and Excise) Act 1890, which set them up by the side of County Councils as distributors of the "whisky" money. In so doing Parliament only recognised a status which had already in many cases been earned by praiseworthy activity under private Acts. But the financial aids granted out of the beer and spirit surtaxes have given a great stimulus to technical education. The large towns usually act for themselves; the smaller ones more often combine with one another or with the County Council. In 1902, by the Education Act of that year, which abolished School Boards, the councils of county boroughs, as well as of counties, were made the local authority for all educational purposes. Under the Light Railways Act of 1896 the councils of county boroughs as well as of counties are "authorities," and the powers conferred were speedily made use of, for in 1898 four towns applied for orders to make light railways under the Act. Each county borough is "liable for the maintenance of pauper lunatics in like manner as any other county";5 but until and unless some other arrangement is come to, the county borough continues to contribute on the same terms as before to any county lunatic asylum, with power, however, to appoint members to the visiting committee of any such asylum. The financial position of county boroughs has already been explained at considerable length in a previous chapter. They • Cf. p. 232 n. See vol. i. p. 372 sqq.

1 Sec. 34 (1) (c). 2 Sec. 34 (2). 3 Sec. 34 (4). 5 Local Government Act 1888, sec. 32 (3) (d).

are, as we have seen, completely relieved from county rates; they are no longer a fiscal subdivision of the county. But they are still liable, at least those which are not counties in themselves, under adjustments and agreements of infinite variety, to contribute to the county fund for a number of common purposes contemplated by Parliament and authorised under public or private Acts. At the same time considerable, though by no means proportionate additions have been made to their funds from the assigned taxes of 1888 and 1890, which flow from the local taxation account into the exchequer contribution accounts of county boroughs. So much for the first or county class of boroughs.

We now turn to non-county boroughs, which have already received separate treatment in chapters on the Municipal Code; we have only to consider here how they have been affected by the creation of County Councils and by the application of the Act of 1888. The second class of municipalities consists of

2. Boroughs other than county boroughs with a population of upwards of 10,000.-This class is again subdivided into— (a) Those with a separate Court of Quarter Sessions; (b) Those with a separate Commission of the Peace but no Quarter Sessions;

(c) Those with neither.

2. Non-county boroughs of more than 10,000 inhabitants.

The principle of the Act of 1888 is that all non-county boroughs, whatever their population or dignity, shall form part of the county for the purposes of the Act of 1888, and that their parishes shall, "subject to the exemptions hereinafter mentioned, be liable to be assessed to county contributions in like manner as the rest of the county." We have therefore only to find out, as regards the second and third classes of boroughs, with their subdivisions, what "the exemptions hereinafter mentioned are," and how far they preserve the autonomy of the borough or exclude the administration of the county authority.

As regards 2 (a)


1 The above principle applies to Quarter Sessions boroughs of more than 10,000 inhabitants not being county boroughs, i.e. to non-county boroughs of the highest class, and therefore a fortiori to all non-county boroughs.

Quarter Sessions boroughs are not liable to be assessed by the County Councils to county contributions towards the cost of county Quarter Sessions if they were exempt from such contribution before the Act of 1888. But this exemp

Main roads in these boroughs.

tion does not extend to any costs incurred in respect of any functions, previously exercised by Justices of the borough, which were transferred by the Act of 1888 to the County Council, nor to any costs of, or incidental to, the assizes of the county. Further, the main roads within these boroughs are a formal part of the county, and are to be maintained out of the county fund; and the expenditure upon them is a general county purpose, for which the parishes of the borough may be assessed to county contributions. Nevertheless, the borough is to be deemed an urban sanitary authority within the meaning of the Highways and Locomotives Act 1878, and may continue to repair and maintain any main road, and has power to make byelaws for main roads as well as other roads within the borough; though if any difference is made by such bye-laws between any main road and any other road, such bye-laws require the approval of the County Council. It would of course be an advantage to a borough to throw the expenses of maintaining its roads upon the whole county; and the Borough Council was allowed, within two years after the passing of the Act of 1888, to apply to the County Council to declare any roads within the borough to be main roads. If the County Council refused (preferring, as it well might, to relinquish an almost nominal power which would involve a real financial loss to the county ratepayers), the Borough Council might appeal to the Local Government Board. Lastly, county councillors are elected for boroughs of this class, but they may not act or vote on the County Council upon matters involving expenditure to which their constituents are not liable to contribute equally with the rest of the county ratepayers.1

It should be observed, however, that any grant of a Court of Quarter Sessions made to a non-county borough after 1888 is not to affect the powers, duties, or liabilities of the County Council within the area of the borough, nor to exempt the

1 The above summary is taken from sec. 35 of the Act of 1888, where the status of this class of boroughs is set out at great length.

borough from any assessment to county contributions. For the second subdivision of the second class there is no special provision made by the Act of 1888. But section 36 applied to both, 2 (a) and 2 (b), i.e. to a non-county borough with a separate Commission of the Peace, whether it is a Quarter Sessions borough or not.1 As regards these boroughs—

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, all such powers, duties, and liabilities of the Court of Quarter Sessions or Justices of the borough, as in the case of the county are by this Act transferred to the County Council, shall cease, and the County Council shall have those powers, duties, and liabilities within the area of the borough in like manner as in the rest of the county.

(2) Provided that such powers, duties, or liabilities, so far as they are under the Acts relating to pauper lunatics, shall, save as otherwise provided by this Act, be transferred to the council of the borough and not to the County Council; and the provisions of this Act with respect to the transfer to a County Council shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to such transfer to the council of the borough.

The third subdivision (c) of the second class,—namely, boroughs of more than 10,000 inhabitants, with neither a Borough Bench nor a separate Court of Quarter Sessions,-are all" local education authorities" for purposes of elementary education under the Education Act 1902. They are not specifically referred to in the County Councils Act. Their status, however, may be roughly indicated by observing that their self-government under the municipal and public health codes is practically unimpaired, though they are formally placed within the administrative area and authority of the County Council. It may be accurately ascertained, on the one hand, by deducting the privileges granted to the two superior subdivisions of the second class, and on the other hand by remembering that their population saves them from the fate of the smaller boroughs of the third class, upon whose autonomy the County Councils have made substantial inroads, while at the same time they enjoy all the privileges accorded to these smaller boroughs. To this third class of smaller boroughs we now advert.

We believe that in fact all Quarter Sessions boroughs have separate Commissions of the Peace.

3. Boroughs with a population of less than 10,000 inhabitants, according to the census of 1881-(a) with a separate Court of Quarter Sessions; (b) without a separate Court of Quarter Sessions.

Boroughs of less than 10,000 inhabitants.

First of all, the Legislature has deprived this whole class of smaller boroughs of the power to raise and maintain a separate police force. In 1888 one of these boroughs had a separate force consisting of one constable. Now they are all policed by the statutory Joint-Committee of County Councillors and County Justices, and the Watch Committee, being left with nothing to do, disappears. The County Council also supersedes the Borough Council as the authority for appointing analysts under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, and for the execution of the Acts relating to contagious diseases and destructive insects, weights and measures, gas meters and explosives.


The first subdivision of the third class consists of Quarter Sessions boroughs which had a population of less than 10,000 at the census of 1881. Before 1888 these boroughs enjoyed certain powers as regards pauper lunatic asylums, coroners, the appointment of analysts, reformatory and industrial schools, and fish conservancy. These powers are transferred to the County Councils. But the transfers are

(1) Subject to the provisions of the Act for the protection of existing officers and the continuance of existing contracts; and

(2) Do not, save as respects the coroners, affect the powers, duties, and liabilities of the council of the borough under the Municipal Corporations Act 1882.3

Discouragement of independent

For highway purposes these boroughs are urban sanitary districts. They may apply, like the larger boroughs, for a declaration that roads within the borough are main roads, and so maintainable at the expense of the county. Boroughs of this class are worse off financially if they possess Quarter

justice in small boroughs.

1 Wright and Hobhouse, p. 25. No new borough with less than 20,000 inhabitants has been allowed a separate police force since 1877.

2 Under the Diseases of Animals Act 1894, the local authorities to execute the Act are Borough Councils in boroughs of more than 10,000 inhabitants and County Councils (57 and 58 Vict. c. 57, sec. 3, read with the Local Government Act 1888, sec. 39).

3 Local Government Act 1888, sec. 38.

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