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Peterborough city council

A public enquiry was held in July 1873 to determine whether it would be advantageous for the City to be administered by a municipal corporation. The result being in the affirmative, the City Council sometimes archaically called Peterborough Corporation was founded by Charter of Incorporation dated 17, March 1874. In 1927 the City Council submitted a 'Memorial' to the Minister of Health for permission to extend the borough boundary to include Gunthorpe, Longthorpe, Paston, Walton, Werrington and the area north east of Fengate; this became affective from 1, April 1929. Upto this point the Council were using the Guildhall and a large number of subsidiary offices, but the need to widen Narrow Bridge Street and the need for a new Town Hall came together in a combined scheme, resulting in the building of the present Town Hall. It was opened in October 1933 and had offices for both Peterborough City Council and the Soke of Peterborough County Council.

At a higher administrative level, the Soke of Peterborough County Council existed from 1889 to 1965. Local Government re-organisation meant that in 1965 Peterborough became part of Huntingdon and Peterborough County Council. Further administrative changes resulted in Peterborough becoming a district of Cambridgeshire County Council from 1974 to1998. In 1998, the City Council (formerly the district within Cambridgeshire) became the unitary authority that we know today.

In relation to Peterborough City Council and its predecessors, Peterborough Archives Service holds:

Paving Commissioners

  • 1790-1844: Minute Books [1845-1874 held at Northamptonshire Record Office].

Barnack Rural District Council

  • 1894-1974: Minute Books.

Old Fletton Urban District Council

  • 1905-1973: Minute books.

Peterborough Rural District Council

  • 1894-1974: Minute Books
  • 1908-1921: Sub-Committee Minutes.

Peterborough Municipal Borough (1874-1974)

  • 1874-1974: Minute Books.
  • 1893-1939: Notices of Motions.

The Borough exercised its various functions through committees which often had their names and powers changed. We hold records for the following:

  • 1898-1919: Allotments Committee
  • 1874-1908: Bye-Laws Committee
  • 1851-1929: Cemetery Committee Minutes
  • 1901-1908: Development Committee Minutes
  • 1901-1908: Diseases of Animals Committee
  • 1901-1948: Electricity Committee
  • 1854-1866: Fairs and Markets Committee
  • 1880-1920: Farm Committee
  • 1874-1919 and 1970: Finance Committee
  • 1874-1901: Gas Committee
  • 1900-1919: General Purposes Committee
  • 1913-1919: Health Committee
  • 1879-1899: Highways Committee
  • 1901-1913: Hospitals Committee
  • 1919: Housing Committee
  • 1908-1919: Park Committee
  • 1874-1879: Pavement and Nuisance Removal Committee
  • 1963-1972: Public Services Committee [copies]
  • 1966-1968: Public Works and Utilities Committee [copies]
  • 1850-1900: Sanitary and Sewerage Committee
  • 1850-1860: Watch and Sewerage Committee
  • 1884-1964: Watch Committee
  • 1910-1919: Pensions Committee

Other material relating to the administration and governance of the Borough includes:

  • 1879: Conveyance from Fitzwilliam Trustees to Corporation of Peterborough
  • 1906: Presentation Book given to Sir Robert & Lady Purvis
  • 1906-2001: City of Peterborough Roll of Honorary Freeman
  • 1931-1933: Medical Officer of Health Records (Register of Inspections by Infant Protection Officer)
  • 1909-1974: Inspector of Weights and Measures (trading standards) records
  • 1933: Town Hall Furnishing Contract (with blueprints)
  • 1937-1939: Book of contracts (finance records)
  • 1944-1978 & 1980-1898: Mayor's Visitors Books
  • 1952-1979: Licensing records

Peterborough City Council [District] (1974-1998)

  • 1974-1998: Minute Books.

Note: The establishment of the City Council in 1974 represented a major administrative shift in the Peterborough area. Its establishment effectively resulted in the amalgamation of the former Rural District Councils, Urban District Councils and the Municipal Borough to form the new City Council, which became a district within Cambridgeshire County Council. However, despite this major change, at a record keeping level, the distinction between the former Borough and the new City Council is blurred. This is reflected in the fact that the new Council's minutes continue in the run of the former Borough's minutes and there are runs of records listed above which span from the time of the Municipal Borough into the era of the new City Council.

Peterborough City Council [Unitary Authority] 1998-present

The official signed copies of the Minutes of Peterborough City Council are retained at the Town Hall where they are still used for administrative purposes. Some duplicate copies are available at Peterborough Central Library for consultation.

Thorney Rural District Council

  • 1919-1964: Minute Books.

Huntingdon Record Office holds:

Improvement Commissioners

  • Letter book 1854-1874 and register of mortgages; cash book 1871-1874.

Barnack Rural District Council

  • Financial records 1899-1974 including rate books 1956-1967; Building bye-law plans.

Old Fletton Urban District Council

  • Financial records 1905-1974; Building bye-law plans.

Peterborough Municipal Borough (1874-1974)

Many volumes of accounts, including general rate books, cash books, ledgers, mortgage registers, deeds. Architects' department records; c.550 items of contracts for building work, road works etc 1959-1982.

Peterborough Rural District Council

  • Financial records; building bye-law plans.

Thorney Rural District Council

  • Financial records 1852-1853; improvements grants register 1961-1973; Building bye-law plans.

An inventory for this collection is available for consultation in the Local Studies and Archive Room at Peterborough Central Library.

Northamptonshire Record Office holds:

Peterborough Improvement Commissioners (National Register of Archives)

  • 1855-1874 : reports & minutes of commissioners & their committees. (Reference: 1952/42).

Peterborough Rural District Council and Barnack Rural District Council

  • 1934-1973: valuation lists.

Printed sources:

  • Incorporation of Peterborough: report of the enquiry held ... by Major Donnelly. (JS Clarke, 1873.)
  • Peterborough's municipal jubilee 1874-1924 by W T Mellows (Peterborough Standard, 1924).
  • The municipal buildings [official opening booklet] 26 October 1933. (Peterborough Standard for Peterborough City Council, 1933).
  • City & Borough of Peterborough. The Memorial of the City Council to the Minister of Health for the extension of the Borough. [Peterborough City Council 1927].
  • Mayors of Peterborough 1874-1924 by Rita McKenzie [s.n. 1992].
  • An outline of the history of Peterborough's public buildings by W T Mellows [Peterborough Advertiser, 1934].
  • Peterborough's Municipal Jubilee: a record of 50 years of Local government (1874-1924) by W T Mellows (1924).

See also Parish Councils


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