Metropolis Management Act 1855
|Long title||An Act for the better Local Management of the Metropolis.|
|Chapter||18 & 19 Vict. c.120|
|Territorial extent||England and Wales|
|Royal Assent||14 August 1855|
|Commencement||12 December 1855|
|Repealing legislation||Statute Law Revision Act 1892, Public Health (London) Act 1936, Local Law (Greater London Council and Inner London Boroughs) Order 1965|
The Metropolis Management Act 1855 (18 & 19 Vict. c.120) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that created the Metropolitan Board of Works, a London-wide body to co-ordinate the construction of the city's infrastructure. The Act also created a second tier of local government consisting of parish vestries and district boards of works. The Metropolitan Board was the forerunner of the London County Council.
The Royal Commission on the City of London considered the case for creation of an authority for the whole of London. Its report recommended the creation of a limited-function Metropolitan Board of Works and seven municipal corporations based on existing parliamentary representation.
The Metropolitan board
The act constituted the Metropolitan Board of Works and provided that its members should be chosen by the parish vestries and district boards also constituted by the act. The first election of members was to take place on 12 December 1855. From 1857 one third of the board was to go out of office on the third Wednesday of June every year. The board was to take over the powers, duties and liabilities of the Metropolitan Commission of Sewers and the Metropolitan Buildings Office on 1 January 1856. Its area of responsibility was to be that designated by the Registrar General as London in the 1851 census.
Vestries and District Boards
The second tier of local government was to be based on the existing vestries of civil parishes in an area comprising parts of the counties of Middlesex, Kent and Surrey. Section 42 of the Act dealt with the incorporation of vestries and district boards. Where single parishes became a local authority they were to have the title:
"The Vestry of the Parish of _______ in the County of ________"
Where parishes were grouped the resulting authority took the title:
"The Board of Works for the _________ District"
List of vestries, district boards and number of members elected to the metropolitan board
|The following were detached parts of parishes and districts:
Not shown is Clerkenwell Detached, an exclave of that parish within Hornsey, Middlesex.
Number of members elected to MBW
|City of London||3||Guildhall|
|Bermondsey Vestry (Surrey)||1||Town Hall, Spa Road, Bermondsey|
|Bethnal Green Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Vestry Hall, Bethnal Green|
|Camberwell Vestry (Surrey)||1||Vestry Hall, Peckham Road|
|Chelsea Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Town Hall, King's Road, Chelsea|
|St. James & St. John Clerkenwell Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Vestry Hall, 58 Rosomon Street, Clerkenwell (replaced by Town Hall in Rosebery Avenue 1895)|
|Fulham District, comprising:||1||Town Hall, Walham Green|
|Greenwich District, comprising:||1||141 Greenwich Road, Greenwich|
|Hackney District, comprising:||1||Town Hall, Hackney|
|Hampstead Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Vestry Hall, Haverstock Hill, Hampstead|
|Holborn District, comprising:||1||Town Hall, Gray's Inn Road|
|Islington St Mary Vestry (Middlesex)||2||Vestry Hall, Upper Street, Islington|
|Kensington Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Town Hall, Kensington|
|Lambeth Vestry (Surrey)||2||Vestry Hall, Kennington Green|
|Lewisham District comprising:||1 member jointly with Plumstead District||Catford|
|Limehouse District comprising:||1||White Horse Street, Commercial Road|
|Hamlet of Mile End Old Town Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Vestry Hall, Bancroft Road, Mile End Road|
|Newington Vestry (Surrey)||1||Vestry Hall, Walworth Road|
|Paddington Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Vestry Hall, Harrow Road|
|Plumstead District comprising:||1 member jointly with Lewisham District||Old Charlton|
|Poplar District comprising:||1||117 High Street, Poplar|
|Rotherhithe Vestry (Surrey)||1 member jointly with St Olave District||Public Baths, Lower Road, Rotherhithe|
|St George Hanover Square Vestry (Middlesex)||2||Vestry Hall, Mount Street, Grosvenor Square|
|St George in the East Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Vestry Hall, Cable Street|
|St Giles District comprising:||1||197 High Holborn|
|St Luke Middlesex Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Vestry Hall, City Road|
|St Martin in the Fields Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Town Hall, Charing Cross Road|
|St Marylebone Vestry (Middlesex)||2||Court House, Marylebone Lane|
|St Olave District comprising:||1 member jointly with Rotherhithe Vestry||Vine Street, Tooley Street, Southwark|
|St Pancras Vestry (Middlesex)||2||Vestry Hall, Pancras Road|
|St Saviour's District comprising:||1||3 Emerson Street, Bankside|
|Shoreditch St Leonard Vestry (Middlesex)||2||Shoreditch Town Hall, Old Street|
|Southwark St George the Martyr Vestry (Surrey)||1||Vestry Hall, 81 Borough Road|
|Strand District comprising:||1||5 Tavistock Street|
|Wandsworth District comprising:||1||East Hill, Wandsworth|
|Westminster District comprising:||1||Town Hall, Caxton Street, Westminster|
|Westminster St James Vestry (Middlesex)||1||Vestry Hall, Piccadilly|
|Whitechapel District comprising:||1||15 Great Alie Street, Whitechapel|
|Woolwich Vestry (Kent)||1||Town Hall, Woolwich|
A number of extra-parochial places lay within the Metropolitan Board's area but were not included in any District:
- Inner Temple
- Middle Temple
- London Charterhouse
- Close of the Collegiate Church of St Peter (i.e. Westminster Abbey)
- Furnival's Inn
- Gray's Inn
- Lincoln's Inn
- Staple Inn
Changes in later legislation
In 1886 The Fulham district was dissolved and the two parish vestries of Fulham and Hammersmith became local authorities. Fulham vestry continued to use the existing town hall at Walham Green, while Hammersmith vestry built a town hall at Hammersmith Broadway.
In 1889 the Local Government Act replaced the Metropolitan Board of Works with the London County Council, and the area of the board became the County of London. From that date the various parishes were separated from Middlesex, Kent and Surrey and placed for all purposes in the new county, while the vestries and district boards continued to function under the aegis of the new county council.
In 1894 the Hackney District Board of Works was dissolved, with the vestries of Hackney and Stoke Newington assuming the powers of the district board. Stoke Newington vestry built a town hall at 126 Church Street. At the same time the Vestry of the Parish of Plumstead became a separate authority, with the remaining four parishes of Plumstead District being reconstituted as Lee District Board of Works.
In 1896 the parishes of Southwark St Olave and St Thomas were combined as a civil Parish.
As of October 2012[update] the majority of the Act has been repealed with only sections 239 and 240 remaining in force. Section 239 deals with the maintenance of enclosed gardens and section 240 relates to obligations under the Crown Estate Paving Act 1851.
- Young, K. & Garside, P., Metropolitan London: Politics and Urban Change, (1982)
- Davis, J., Reforming London: The London Government Problem, 1855-1900, (1988)
- Metropolis Management Act 1855, s. 239-240
- Official text of the Metropolis Management Act 1855 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database