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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: BorDM/1-3 and BorDMC1] 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: BorDV11/1] together with the registration document for the Borough Arms [Ref: BorDV11/7] 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: BorDMC] 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: BorDP series]. There is an accompanying set of registers of building plans, 1864-1974 [Ref: BorDPR series].
The records of the Manor of Dunstable in the Borough collection include Court books for 1743-1799 [Ref: BorDV5/1] and 1814-1845 [Ref: BorDV5/3] and deeds to Priory House for 1694-1839 [Ref: BorDV13 series].

Borough of Dunstable Catalogue Summary (or Class list)
RecordDatesReference
Burial Board    
Burial Board Rough Minutes 1900 - 1924 BorDBuM 1
Burial Board Minutes 1907 - 1935 BorDBuM2
Correspondence    
Town Clerk's Files 1932 - 1941 BorDC1
Corporation Letterbooks 1869 - 1879, 1896 - 1939) BorDC2
Food Control Letterbooks 1917 - 1920 BorDC3
Housing Letterbooks 1935 - 1939 BorDC4
Rating Letterbooks 1927 - 1935 BorDC5
Town Clerk & Deputy 1916 - 1927 BorDC6
Estate - see BorDV    
Financial Records    
Ledgers of the Borough Fund 1865 - 1882, 1923 - 1925 BorDF1
Ledgers of the Borough of Dunstable Urban Sanitary Account 1891 - 1922 BorDF2
Miscellaneous Ledgers & Account Books 1911 - 1956 BorDF3
Cheques, Vouchers etc 1865 - 1877 BorDF4
Abstracts of Accounts 1865 - 1873 BorDF5
Printed abstracts of the Borough Fund 1865 - 1874 BorDF6
Printed Abstracts of balance Sheets of the Dunstable Local Board 1865 - 1874 BorDF7
Printed Abstract of accounts 'Borough' and 'Urban' district account 1905 - 1937 BorDF8
Rate Books 1914, 1963 - 1964 BorDF9
Valuation Lists 1898 - 1949 BorDF10
Miscellaneous Precepts 1865 - 1874 BorDF11
Miscellaneous Accounts 1867 - 1870 BorDF12
Authorisations to Pay 1867 - 1870 BorDF13
Wage Books 1939 - 1942 BorDF14
Housing    
Housing - general 1924 BorDH1
Council Houses 1941 - 1943 BorDH2
Dwelling house Registration 1933 - 1938 BorDH3
Minutes    
Local Board Minutes 1863 - 1872 BorDM1
Council Minutes 1865 - 1879, 1881 - 1974 BorDM2
Rough Minutes 1898 - 1939 BorDM3
Committee Minutes    
General - All committees 1896 - 1967 BorDMC1
Amenities Committee 1970 - 1974 BorDMC2
Forward Planning Committee 1962 - 1973 BorDMC3
Civic Hall Committee 1964 - 1970 BorDMC4
Civil Defence Committee 1940 - 1952 BorDMC5
Finance, General Purposes & Rating Committee 1939 - 1944 BorDMC6
Finance Committee 1944 - 1974 BorDMC7
General Purpose Committee 1946 - 1974 BorDMC8
Highways Committee 1939 - 1946, 1956 - 1974 BorDMC9
Horticultural Committee 1942 - 1945 BorDMC10
Housing Committee 1920 - 1939, 1946 - 1974 BorDMC11
Parks & Allotments Committee 1940 - 1955 BorDMC12
Parks Committee 1956 - 1970 BorDMC13
Planning Committee 1955 - 1974 BorDMC14
Public Health, Housing & Fire Brigade Committee 1939 - 1945 BorDMC15
Public Health & Housing Committee 1945 - 1952 BorDMC16
Public Health Commitee 1937 - 1939, 1952 - 1974 BorDMC17
Public Works Committee 1946 - 1956 BorDMC18
Rating Committee 1927 - 1939 BorDMC19
Rating & Valuation Committee 1940 - 1949 BorDMC20
Official    
Register of Councillor's interests in Contracts 1955 - 1968 BorDO1
Seal Registers 1938 - 1955, 1959 - 1969 BorDO2
Building Plans    
Building Plans 1864 - 1945 BorDP
Plan Registers 1864 - 1974 BorDPR
Planning    
Town & Country Planning registers 1933 - 1942 BorDPl1
Roads & Footpaths    
Roads & Footpaths n.d. BorDR
Various    
Byelaws 1922 - 1959 BorDV1
Library & Museum 1924 - 1939 BorDV2
Boundary Alterations 1891 - 1906 BorDV3
Motor Coach Census 1930 BorDV4
Manor of Dunstable Court Books 1743 - 1931 BorDV5
Manor of Dunstable Notices 1884 - 1889 BorDV6
Manor of Dunstable Tolls 1743 - 1867 BorDV7
Manor of Dunstable Miscellaneous 1851 - 1870 BorDV8
Town Property 1769 - 1855 BorDV9
Mayor's Local Relief Fund minute book 1914 - 1923 BorDV10
Borough Charters & Official Instruments 1864 - 1954 BorDV11
Miscellaneous: mainly prints 1787 - 1939 BorDV12
Deeds to Priory House 1694 - 1839 BorDV13
War Records    
War Records 1939 - 1958 BorDW
Yearbooks    
Yearbooks 1953 - 1974 BorDY