chapter  IX
13 Pages

The London County Council

When the reform of London government was eventually brought about, it arrived by the back-stairs method charac­ teristic of almost all the changes in the metropolis which occurred during the past century. The Local Government Act, 1888, which established the London County Council, was primarily a measure for instituting elected councils in the counties, where local administration was still in the hands of the justices of the peace appointed by the central government. The Public Health Act of 1875 set up urban and rural sanitary authorities within the county districts; but county government as such was left unchanged. No breath of democracy had so far touched the face of the ancient shires. In the process of providing the rural counties with elected councils, Mr. Ritchie, the President of the Local Government Board, took the oppor­ tunity of creating London an administrative county and treating it in similar manner to the others.