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Key Texts

  • Chris Williams (ed.), A Companion to Nineteeth-Century Britain, Part II: Politics and Government
  • Martin Daunton (ed.), The Cambridge Urban History of Britain, Part II: Governance
  • D Fraser, ‘Politics and the Victorian city’, Urban History Yearbook (1979)
  • John Garrard, 'Urban Elites, 1850-1914: The rule and decline of a new squirearchy?', Albion, 1995
  • E Hennock, ‘Central/local government relationships in England: an outline 1800-1950’, Urban History Yearbook (1982)
  • Philip Salmon, '"Reform Should Begin at Home" : English Municipal and Parliamentary Reform, 1818-32'. Parliamentary History (2005)

Seminar Questions

  • How democratic were the institutions of government in Victorian cities? eg vestries, municipal government, highway surveyors, overseers of poor etc
  • What roles were there for the landed elite? the nonconformist middle classes? women? the poor?
  • Examine central/local government relations in this period.
  • Is the history of local government a history of inaction and apathy?
  • Examine the structures of power (and resistance to power) in one city using the sources below.


Further Reading

C Bellamy, Administering Central-Local Relations

A Briggs, ‘The background to the English parliamentary reform movement in three English cities’, Cambridge Historical Journal, 10 (1952).

D Cannadine, (ed.), Patricians, Power and Politics in Nineteenth Century Towns

J J Clarke, A History of Local Government in the United Kingdom

Alan Di Gaetano, 'The Birth of Modern Urban Governance : A Comparison of Political Modernization in Boston, Massachusetts, and Bristol, England, 1800-1870'. Journal of Urban History (2009)

M Falkus, ‘The development of municipal trading in the nineteenth century’, Business History, 19 (1977)

D Fraser, Urban Politics in Victorian England: the Structure of Politics in Victorian Cities

D Fraser, Power and Authority in the Victorian City

D Fraser, (ed.), Municipal Reform and the Industrial City

H Fraser, ‘Municipal Socialism and Social Policy’ in Morris and Rodger, The Victorian City

J Garrard, Leadership and Power in Victorian Industrial Towns 1830-80

S Gaskell, Building Control: National Legislation and the Introduction of Local Bye-Laws in Victorian England

E Hennock, Fit and Proper Persons: Ideal and Reality its Nineteenth-Century Urban Government

P Hollis, Ladies Elect: Women in English Local Government 1865-1914

Tristram Hunt, Building Jerusalem

B Keith-Lucas, English Local Government

B Keith-Lucas, English local government in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

J Kellett, ‘Municipal socialism, enterprise and trading in the Victorian city’, Urban History Yearbook (1978)

V Lipman, Local Government Areas

R Lambert, ‘Central-Local relations in mid Victorian England’, Victorian Studies, 1962-3

D Owen, The Government of Victorian London

R Rhodes, Control and power in central-local government relations

G Sutherland, Studies in the Growth of nineteenth century government

D Thompson, in J Rendall, Equal or Different?

J Vernon, Politics and People

J Vincent, Poll books: How Victorians Voted

P Waller, Democracy and Sectarianism: a Political and Social History of Liverpool 1868-1939

K Young and P Garside Metropolitan London: Politics and Urban Change 1837-1981

Parochial affairs [h]all

A satire on a vestry meeting at St Paul's Covent Garden in 1828