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Kempston Urban District Council

The former Kempston Urban District Council building May 2012
The former Kempston Urban District Council building May 2012

Until the late 19th century the local government of England was largely carried on the parish vestries and the county Quarter Sessions. In 1889 county councils were created as first tier local authorities and in 1896 a second tier, urban and rural district councils were created, there being a number of district councils beneath each county council. Also in 1894 and formed by the same Local Government Act were the third, or lowest, tier of local government, the parish councils.

If the county councils replaced the local government functions of the county quarter sessions and the parish councils replaced the local government aspects of parish vestries, district councils replaced the still new sanitary districts, both urban and rural. These had been created by the Public Health Acts of 1873 and 1875 to oversee such matters of public health as drinking water, sewers, street cleaning and clearing slum housing. In addition to these responsibilities district councils had functions concerning planning, public parks and cemeteries.

Kempston Urban District Council met for the first time on 18th May 1896 [UDK1/1] and was abolished in 1974, meeting for the last time on 20th March, when urban and rural district councils were amalgamated into new district councils of which there were three in Bedfordshire – North Bedfordshire Borough (soon renamed Bedford Borough), Mid Bedfordshire District and South Bedfordshire District Councils; Kempston formed part of North Bedfordshire Borough Council.

In April 2009 Bedfordshire County Council was abolished and its functions divided between two new unitary councils which exercise both first and second tier responsibilities – Kempston forming part of the new Bedford Borough Unitary Council within the borders of the old Bedford Borough/North Bedfordshire District Council.

Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service has the following record series for Kempston Urban District Council:

  • UDK1/1-28: Minute books: 1896-1974;
  • UDK2/1-27: Minute books of various committees and sub-committees including, over the life of the council, the following: Air Raid Precautions, Allotments, Appointment of an Inspector or Surveyor, Bathing Facilities at Kempston Mill Bridge, Baths, Building Bye –Laws, Building Plans, Bus Services, Bye-Laws, Clerkship, District Boundaries, Emergency, Finance, Fire Brigade, Fire Protection, Food Production, General Purposes, Highways, Housing, Housing Estates, Housing and Town Planning, Land, Land Census, Lighting, Park, Private Streets, Public Health, Public Transport, Rating, Retail Coal Prices, Road Safety, Sanitary, Scavenging, School Board Loans, Street Naming, Town Planning, Town Planning Policy and Water Supply: 1896-1974: 1896-1961;
  • UDK3/1: Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Minute Book: 1897;
  • UDK3/2-10: Kempston Barracks photographs: 1921-1977;
  • UDK3/11: Declaration of acceptance of office: 1962-1979;
  • UDK3/12: Allotments rent book: 1962-1973;
  • UDK3/13: Notice of motion book: 1969-1977;
  • UDK4/1: Minutes of the Cater Chariry: 1871-1914;
  • UDK4/2: Charity minutes: 1915-1934;
  • UDK4/3: Charity general cash book: 1914-1935;
  • UDK5/1: Sir William Long’s Charity accounts: 1918-1949;
  • UDK5/2-3: Ann Carter’s Charity recipients and accounts: 1918-1964;
  • UDK7/1: Register of action taken in relation to unfit houses beyond repair: 1960-1970;
  • UDK7/2: Register of new swellings provided with Exchequer assistance under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1946: 1946-1973;
  • UDKP1-1812: Plans relating to applications for planning permission: 1896-1952;
  • UDKPX1-33: Plans of building in the Ampthill Road area transferred to Kempston UDC in 1934: 1926-1934;
  • UDKPZ1-168: Plans of minor importance: 1926-1939; UDK/Pub1/1-3: street plans: 1957-1969.