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Eaton Bray Rural District Council

In the late 19th century local government, until that point in the hands of parish vestries and the Quarter Sessions underwent a radical change with the creation of first tier authorities such as county councils in 1889 and second tier authorities, rural and urban district councils in 1894.

One of the new councils in Bedfordshire was Eaton Bray Rural District Council, created by the Local Government Act 1894. It covered the parishes of Billington, Eggington, Heath and Reach and Stanbridge as well as Eaton Bray itself. The council grew out of and had the same boundaries as Leighton Buzzard Rural Sanitary Authority, established in 1875 and concerned exclusively with issues of public health which were then taken over by the rural district council in 1894.

Woburn Rural District was created at the same time but was dissolved after a life of only six years and the parishes of Chalgrave, Hockliffe and Tilsworth were transferred to Eaton Bray. Even with these added parishes Eaton Bray was really too small to be effective and, under the South Bedfordshire Order 1933 [CDP54/4] it was abolished and all the parishes transferred to Luton Rural District.

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has a small body of records of the former Eaton Bray Rural District as follows. Some of the records pre-date 1894 because they relate to Leighton Buzzard Rural Sanitary Authority and issues which pre-dated even the creation of that body:

  • RDEF1/1-1/7: financial ledgers 1872-1916;
  • RDEF2/1-2/3: financial statements 1877-1901;
  • RDEF3/1: parochial ledger 1905-1911;
  • RDEL1/1: correspondence regarding a bridleway in Heath and Reach 1897-1898;
  • RDEL1/2: correspondence regarding Reach Lane, Heath and Reach 1896-1898;
  • RDEL2/1: letter book 1897-1903;
  • RDEM1/1-1/4: council minutes 1872-1905;
  • RDLM2: council minutes 1905-1933;
  • RDEM2/1: Allotment Committee minutes 1888-1891;
  • RDEO1/1: authorization of sale of stock held by the Guardians of Leighton Buzzard Poor Law Union: 1906;
  • RDEV1: payments to contractors, architects and quantity surveyors in connection with housing schemes: 1919-1925;
  • RDEV2: General and Special Rate book 1927;
  • RDEV3: papers regarding drainage in Stanbridge: 1908-1909