1902 Encyclopedia > London > London - Government and Administration - Metropolitan Board; Vestries; Other Administrative Authorities

(Part 4)


Metropolitan Board; Vestries; Other Administrative Authorities

By the Metropolitan Local Management Act of 1855, the metropolis was divided into thirty-nine vestries or district boards, which elect the forty-five members who form the Metropolitan Board of Works, the city of London electing three members, each of the six great parishes of Islington, Marylebone, St Pancras, Lambeth, St George’s (Hanover Square), and Shoreditch two members, and the other districts one each or one in combination. The board was originally established for the formation and maintenance of main sewers, but later Acts have made it the administrative authority of the metropolis in a great variety of other matters, including the construction of main thoroughfares, the carrying out of great metropolitan improvements, the formation of new streets, the construction and maintenance of parks, the preservation of common and open spaces, the maintenance of the fire brigade, and the administration of certain enactments specially applicable to the metropolitan area. The total sum raised by the board for application to its various purposes since 1856 to 31st December 1881 was 28,689,749 pounds, and its net liability on the 31sr December 1881 was 13,437,940 pounds. The capital required for the execution of great works in raised by the issue of stock bearing interest at the rate of 3 _ and 3 per cent, which has the same facilities of transfer as the Government stocks, and is redeemable in sixty years from creation. The rate per pound levied by the board has varied very greatly, being 2-09d in 1856, and as high as 6.99d. in 1867, while for 1883 it is estimated at 6.2d. The total net charge in 1880 was 652,213 pounds, and for 1882 it is estimated at 715,822 pounds. The rateable annual value of poetry in the metropolis has risen from 11,283,663 pounds in 18567 to 27,386,086 pounds in 1882.

The vestries and district boards are entrusted with the management of local sewers, the lighting paying, and cleaning of their own thoroughfares, and the removal of nuisances. For paving, except in the old main thoroughfares, they have power to charge adjoining properties, and in several districts a small income is obtained from realized property. The total amount of money advanced to them on loan by the Board of Works up to 31st November 1881 was 3,631,769 pounds of which 3,297,430 pounds was redeemable by 1929, and 334,338 pounds by 1941.

The School Board of London has in regard to education a rating legislative authority over a district corresponding with that of the Metropolitan Board of Works. The metropolitan police force outside the City limits and within a radius of 12 miles of Charing Cross is under the control of the Home Secretary. The Tower of London is governed by the constable of the Tower, assisted by fifty magistrates, and the borough of Westminster is still under the nominal care of the dean and burgesses. The Metropolitan Asylums Board, the Burial Board, the Thames Conservancy Board, and the Lea Conservancy Board constitute the principal other direct governing authorities having relation to London, but the water and gas companies enjoy monopolies which imply a certain degree of irresponsible authority, and a right of taxation not sufficiently, defined and limited. Within an area less than the district of the Board of Works there are ten parliamentary boroughs, which return in all twenty-two members, the City returning four members, and Southwark (from 1295), Westminster (1547), Marylebone (1832), Finsbury (1832), Tower Hamlets (1832), Greenwich (1832, extended in 1868), Lambeth (1832), Hackney, (1868), and Chelsea (1868) two each. London University (1868) returns one member.

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