chapter  I
7 Pages

A Revolution Missed

The exclusion of London was in no way due to the excellence of the municipal administration which at that time existed in the capital. A hundred years ago the government of the metropolis was divided between the City Corporation and the city companies, 7 boards of commissioners for sewers, nearly 100 paving, lighting and cleansing boards, about 172 vestries of one kind or another (including select vestries, open vestries, and those appointed under various local and general Acts), boards of guardians established under the Poor Law Act, 1834, the commissioners of highways and bridges, turnpike trusts, the commissioners of police and of woods and forests, the commissioners of courts of requests, grand juries, inquest juries, leet and annoyance juries, the Middlesex bench of magistrates and various other bodies such as the salaried police magistrates.8 Even to the unfastidious eye of the early Victorian Londoner such a collection of authorities was scarcely reassuring.