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Dunstable Borough records

The Records of the Borough of Dunstable


Dunstable municipal boroughs was created in 1864, largely as the result of rapid population increase, urban development, and the construction of railways in the nineteenth century.

This article looks at the records created Dunstable boroughs up until 1974. This will chiefly cover material which is held here at the Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service, but substantial quantities of records are still retained by the respective authorities. It is often incorrectly claimed that the records were totally destroyed in the fire at the Town Hall during the Peace Riots of 1919.

In early times Dunstable was a royal borough, refounded by Henry I in the early 12th century as a new town on the site of the former Roman settlement at the junction of Watling Street and Icknield Way. The royal borough was under the control of the Priory until 1540, but after the Dissolution the townsmen did not succeed in retaining independent borough status. The town became a manorial borough, held with the Honour of Ampthill and by other owners - who received the market tolls and other dues - until 1839 when it reverted to the Crown. Dunstable finally became a municipal borough in 1864.

We hold the main minutes of the Borough Council [Refs: Bor.DM. 1-3 and Bor. D.MC 1] as well as its committees, the financial records, correspondence, and a range of other records. The Dunstable Borough charter of 1864 is held here [Ref: Bor.DV 11/1] together with the registration document for the Borough Arms [Ref: Bor.DV 11/7] and other papers dealing with the extension of the Borough boundaries.

The records of the various sub-committees demonstrate the increasing scope of the work of the Borough, particularly after the First World War. Separate housing committee minutes were kept from 1920 [Ref: Bor.D.MC] followed by separate minutes for rating (1927), public health (1937), highways (1939), general purposes (1939), parks and allotments (1940) and horticulture (1942).

Another important class of records is the collection of building plans for the period 1864-1945, which has not only been listed in detail, but also has indexes of streets, places, builders and architects [Ref: Bor. DP series]. There is an accompanying set of registers of building plans, 1864-1974 [Ref: Bor. D.P.R series].
    The records of the Manor of Dunstable in the Borough collection include Court books for 1743-1799 [Ref: Bor.DV 5/1] and 1814-1845 [Ref: Bor.DV 5/3] and deeds to Priory House for 1694-1839 [Ref: Bor.DV 13 series].

    Borough of Dunstable Catalogue Summary (or Class list)
    Record
    Dates
    Reference
    Burial Board
    Burial Board Rough Minutes 1900 - 1924 Bor D Bu M 1
    Burial Board Minutes 1907 - 1935 Bor D Bu M 2
    Correspondence
    Town Clerk's Files 1932 - 1941 Bor D C 1
    Corporation Letterbooks 1869 - 1879, 1896 - 1939) Bor D C 2
    Food Control Letterbooks 1917 - 1920 Bor D C 3
    Housing Letterbooks 1935 - 1939 Bor D C 4
    Rating Letterbooks 1927 - 1935 Bor D C 5
    Town Clerk & Deputy 1916 - 1927 Bor D C 6
    Estate - see Bor D V
    Financial Records
    Ledgers of the Borough Fund 1865 - 1882, 1923 - 1925 Bor D F 1
    Ledgers of the Borough of Dunstable Urban Sanitary Account 1891 - 1922 Bor D F 2
    Miscellaneous Ledgers & Account Books 1911 - 1956 Bor D F 3
    Cheques, Vouchers etc 1865 - 1877 Bor D F 4
    Abstracts of Accounts 1865 - 1873 Bor D F 5
    Printed abstracts of the Borough Fund 1865 - 1874 Bor D F 6
    Printed Abstracts of balance Sheets of the Dunstable Local Board 1865 - 1874 Bor D F 7
    Printed Abstract of accounts 'Borough' and 'Urban' district account 1905 - 1937 Bor D F 8
    Rate Books 1914, 1963 - 1964 Bor D F 9
    Valuation Lists 1898 - 1949 Bor D F 10
    Miscellaneous Precepts 1865 - 1874 Bor D F 11
    Miscellaneous Accounts 1867 - 1870 Bor D F 12
    Authorisations to Pay 1867 - 1870 Bor D F 13
    Wage Books 1939 - 1942 Bor D F 14
    Housing
    Housing - general 1924 Bor D H 1
    Council Houses 1941 - 1943 Bor D H 2
    Dwelling house Registration 1933 - 1938 Bor D H 3
    Minutes
    Local Board Minutes 1863 - 1872 Bor D M 1
    Council Minutes 1865 - 1879, 1881 - 1974 Bor D M 2
    Rough Minutes 1898 - 1939 Bor D M 3
    Committee Minutes
    General - All committees 1896 - 1967 Bor D MC 1
    Amenities Committee 1970 - 1974 Bor D MC 2
    Forward Planning Committee 1962 - 1973 Bor D MC 3
    Civic Hall Committee 1964 - 1970 Bor D MC 4
    Civil Defence Committee 1940 - 1952 Bor D MC 5
    Finance, General Purposes & Rating Committee 1939 - 1944 Bor D MC 6
    Finance Committee 1944 - 1974 Bor D MC 7
    General Purpose Committee 1946 - 1974 Bor D MC 8
    Highways Committee 1939 - 1946, 1956 - 1974 Bor D MC 9
    Horticultural Committee 1942 - 1945 Bor D MC 10
    Housing Committee 1920 - 1939, 1946 - 1974 Bor D MC 11
    Parks & Allotments Committee 1940 - 1955 Bor D MC 12
    Parks Committee 1956 - 1970 Bor D MC 13
    Planning Committee 1955 - 1974 Bor D MC 14
    Public Health, Housing & Fire Brigade Committee 1939 - 1945 Bor D MC 15
    Public Health & Housing Committee 1945 - 1952 Bor D MC 16
    Public Health Commitee 1937 - 1939, 1952 - 1974 Bor D MC 17
    Public Works Committee 1946 - 1956 Bor D MC 18
    Rating Committee 1927 - 1939 Bor D MC 19
    Rating & Valuation Committee 1940 - 1949 Bor D MC 20
    Official
    Register of Councillor's interests in Contracts 1955 - 1968 Bor D O 1
    Seal Registers 1938 - 1955, 1959 - 1969 Bor D O 2
    Building Plans
    Building Plans 1864 - 1945 Bor D P
    Plan Registers 1864 - 1974 Bor D P R
    Planning
    Town & Country Planning registers 1933 - 1942 Bor D Pl 1
    Roads & Footpaths
    Roads & Footpaths n.d. Bor D R
    Various
    Byelaws 1922 - 1959 Bor D V 1
    Library & Museum 1924 - 1939 Bor D V 2
    Boundary Alterations 1891 - 1906 Bor D V 3
    Motor Coach Census 1930 Bor D V 4
    Manor of Dunstable Court Books 1743 - 1931 Bor D V 5
    Manor of Dunstable Notices 1884 - 1889 Bor D V 6
    Manor of Dunstable Tolls 1743 - 1867 Bor D V 7
    Manor of Dunstable Miscellaneous 1851 - 1870 Bor D V 8
    Town Property 1769 - 1855 Bor D V 9
    Mayor's Local Relief Fund minute book 1914 - 1923 Bor D V 10
    Borough Charters & Official Instruments 1864 - 1954 Bor D V 11
    Miscellaneous: mainly prints 1787 - 1939 Bor D V 12
    Deeds to Priory House 1694 - 1839 Bor D V 13
    War Records
    War Records 1939 - 1958 Bor D W
    Yearbooks
    Yearbooks 1953 - 1974 Bor D Y