This chapter considers the Victorian and Edwardian provostship, when burgh councils were created across Scotland to administer populous communities. It explores the provost's fluctuating fortunes during the twentieth century. The office's historical identity was a feature of its continuing resilience, despite provosts' diminished role and detachment from their traditional burgh power-base. The legitimacy of the Labour provost, including the privilege of placing the traditional decorative lampposts outside his home, became contested territory, with the Conservatives winning out after taking legal action towards the end of 2005. The provostship was inextricably bound up with the leadership of Scotland's burghs; units of civic administration that were swept away with the radical reorganisation of local government in 1975. The era of Liberal-dominated 'local self-government' was instituted, with the steady advance of burgh autonomy as communities sought effective town management. 'Local self-government' became a virtue, with strong moral overtones, in a bid to engender urban cohesion.