chapter  VII
29 Pages

Local Authorities in the Region

Having indicated the general lines on which a Greater London Council should be constructed, we can now proceed to the question of the proper organisation of minor authorities within the region.

We may take first the administrative county of London. The metropolitan borough councils present an extraordinary diversity of feature and size; they do not appear to have been based on any principle whatever. They vary enormously in population, from Holborn with 38,000 inhabitants, to Islington with 321,000 and Wandsworth with 353,ooo.1 They vary in territorial size over an equally wide range. Finsbury contains only 587 acres and Chelsea 660 acres, while Woolwich stretches over 8,282 acres and the acreage of Lewisham is 7,015. The rateable value of Westminster (as at April 1936) is ¿10,441,146, giving a rateable value per head of ¿83*93. The corresponding figures for Bethnal Green are ¿526,913 and ¿5 • 27. Marylebone has a rateable value of ¿3,365,844 and a rateable value per head of ¿36-51; Poplar levies a rate on an aggregate value of ¿771,6 11 or ¿5 '3 7 for each local inhabitant.2 The character of the metropolitan boroughs is also exceedingly diverse. Some, like Bermondsey, consist almost entirely of manual wageearners, while others (such as Hampstead, St. Marylebone and Kensington) are predominantly middle and upper class. Some are natural units of government, while others (of which Lam­ beth is an example) are amalgamations of a number of smaller communities with little common interest to unite them.3