Papers of the Association of Municipal Corporations

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Bound volumes of Council and Committee minutes, 1899-1972, verbatim reports of meetings, 1945-74, and conference reports, 1947-73; minutes of the Non-County Boroughs Committee for England and Wales (1944-74). This was a separate Association (the Non-County Boroughs Association) from the mid 1920s up to 1947 when it appears to have become a Committee of the AMC. The County Boroughs Association was very closely connected with the AMC.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Association of Municipal Corporations was formed in 1873 at a meeting of 102 representatives from 48 cities and boroughs and 58 Members of Parliament. The meeting was convened at the request of the Manchester Corporation in order to organise opposition to the Borough Funds Act 1872. It was proposed that an Association of Municipal Corporations be immediately formed, more effectively to watch over and protect the interests, rights and privileges of municipal corporations as they may be affected by public Bill legislation and in other aspects to take action in relation to any other subjects in which municipal corporations may be generally interested.

The Association was formally constituted at a second meeting in March at which 83 municipal corporations were represented. The development of the formal organisation of the AMC was gradual. Initially a committee was appointed and entrusted with the general management of the Association and this consisted of representatives from 14 corporations. The Lord Mayor of London was made Treasurer and the Town Clerks of Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham were appointed Honorary Secretaries. A Parliamentary Agent or Solicitor in Westminster was also appointed as Secretary. When the Honorary Secretaries resigned in 1879, a Municipal Law Committee was appointed in their place to assist the Secretary; and a Council of 40 replaced the committee of management. This number was increased to 50 in 1889, 25 each to represent county and non-county boroughs (the two different types of boroughs having been created by the Local Government Act of 1888).

Other standing committees were later created, usually in response to specific needs, the earliest an Education Committee in 1904. Other committees were established in response to specific legislation: Housing (1929), Police (1921), Fire Brigade (1939, Fire Service from 1956) and Public Assistance (later Social Welfare (1930). In 1949, the constitution of the committees was altered to ensure that their membership consisted solely of elected members of councils. Town clerks and officers in the service if the member corporations were therefore excluded from the decision-making process and this paralleled the trend within the member authorities themselves. The only exception was the Law Committee whose membership continued to be made up solely of town clerks with legal qualifications. Consequently, the General Purposes Committee (established in 1929), consisting entirely of elected representatives, replaced the Law Committee as the policy formulating committee of the Association and from 1964, the Chairman of the General Purposes Committee was also the Chairman of the Association.

Following local government reorganisation in April 1974, the AMC ceased to exist. Although the Redcliffe-Maud Reporthad called for "a single powerful association to look after the interests of local government and to speak for it" and also expressed the hope that with reorganisation the new authorities would join one association, this did not happen. The AMC was superseded by the Association of Metropolitan Authorities (AMA) whose membership comprised the metropolitan county and metropolitan district councils, the Greater London Council (including the Inner London Education Authority), the London Borough Councils and the Corporation of the City of London

Reference: Source: A list of the historical records retained by the Association of District Councils compiled by Philippa Bassett as part of a research project funded by the Social Science Research Council (Birmingham: Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Birmingham, 1980).

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series: Verbatim reports; minutes, conference reports.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. A 50 year closure period applies to some papers. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited on permanent loan by the Association of Metropolitan Authorities in 1994.

Other Finding Aids

A box list to file level is available in the reading room and at the National Register of Archives in London. A brief description is also available on the Special Collections website.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Accruals

Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the Association of Metropolitan Authorities (GB 152 AMA), together with papers of other local authority associations including the Association of County Councils (GB 150 ACC); County Councils Association (GB 0150 CCA); Urban District Councils Association (GB 150 UDCA); Rural District Councils Association (GB 150 RDCA); Association of District Councils (GB 1050 ADC).

Earlier records of the AMC are held at the Public Record Office in London.