Records created or inherited by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, and of successor and related bodies

Details of HLG
Reference:HLG
Title:
Records created or inherited by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, and of successor and related bodies
Description:

Records created or inherited by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, and of successor and related bodies, including those of the Local Government Board and Ministry of Health, relating to the administration of local government, housing and town and country planning.

They include:

  • General records
  • Administrative records of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government
  • Local Government branches and divisions
  • regional offices and committees of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning
  • Rating and Valuation Committees
  • Housing divisions
  • Rent tribunals, Rent Assessment Panels and Rent Officers
  • Planning divisions
  • New towns and development divisions
  • Housing and Planning Inspectorate
  • Minerals divisions
  • Countryside divisions
  • Sanitary, water and sewerage divisions
  • Central Land Board
  • Ministry of Land and Natural Resources
  • Ministry of Works and successor
  • Land Commission
  • Legal, orders and parliamentary departments
  • Commissions
  • Committees

Date: 1800-1996
Separated Material: Much Local Government Board correspondence between 1900 and 1919 has been lost through enemy action in the Second World War or fire.
For further records of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government see Records created or inherited by the Department of the Environment, and of related bodies: AT
For further records of the Local Government Board and Ministry of Health see Records created or inherited by the Ministry of Health and successors, Local Government Boards and related bodies: MH
Ministry of Housing and Local Government records dealing with Wales were transferred to the Welsh Office c 1965, see Records created or inherited by the Welsh Office: BD
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record
Language: English
Creator: Department of the Environment, 1970-1997
General Board of Health, 1848-1858
Home Office, 1782-
Local Government Board, 1871-1919
Ministry of Health, 1919-1968
Ministry of Housing and Local Government, 1951-1970
Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, 1964-1967
Ministry of Local Government and Planning, 1951-1951
Ministry of Town and Country Planning, 1943-1951
Ministry of Works, 1943-1962
Ministry of Works and Buildings, 1940-1942
Ministry of Works and Planning, 1942-1943
Physical description: 163 series
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition: from 2002 Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
from 1997 to 2001 Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
from 1970 to 1997 Department of the Environment
from 1966 to 1970 Ministry of Housing and Local Government
Administrative / biographical background:

Central Supervision of Local Government before 1871

Until the reforms of the late nineteenth century local public services were administered by specialised bodies with separate constitutions subject to varying degrees of supervision from a number of departments of the central government. In 1868 a Royal Sanitary Commission was appointed to consider the law and administration of public health. Its report, issued in 1871, led to the appointment of the Local Government Board.

Local Government Board, 1871 to 1919

The Local Government Board was established by the merger of the Poor Law Board, the Local Government Act Office of the Home Office and the Medical Department of the Privy Council Office to form a single board with primary responsibility for supervision of local government services.

The primary functions of the board were those inherited from its predecessors, but important new or augmented powers were secured later in the fields of food and drugs, housing and town planning, libraries, old age pensions, regulation of the treatment of tuberculosis, and maternity and child welfare.

During the First World War the board had special wartime functions which were performed by temporary departments. In July 1919 the board was dissolved and its functions taken over by the Ministry of Health.

Ministry of Health (housing and local government responsibilities), 1919 to 1951

The Ministry of Health was established under the Ministry of Health Act 1919. The principal purpose of the new ministry was to consolidate under a single authority the medical and public health functions of the central government and the co-ordination and supervision of local health services in England and Wales. Its second main function was the supervision of local government services, for which it had general as well as specific responsibilities.

During the Second World War the ministry's health functions expanded and it also had further functions outside the health field. A number of specialised divisions were established to discharge wartime duties. In 1951 duties relating to local government administration, environmental health services and housing were assigned to the new Ministry of Local Government and Planning.

Town and country planning, pre 1940

Town and country planning at a national level developed largely from the public health legislation of the nineteenth century. The first piece of legislation to contain general planning as distinct from housing provisions was the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act 1909, which permitted local authorities to draw up planning schemes in connection with the development of new housing areas. The Town and Country Planning Act 1932 extended earlier provisions to almost any type of land, whether built up or undeveloped.

The central authority for planning was the Local Government Board and, after 1919, the Ministry of Health. From 1919 district councils were empowered to join together in joint planning committees, and from 1930 county councils were allowed to join such committees or to undertake powers relinquished by district councils.

Ministry of Works and Buildings, and Ministry of Works and Planning, 1940 to 1943; and Ministry of Town and Country Planning, 1943 to 1951

The Second World War brought recognition of the need for wartime controls on development and industrial location and for planning post-war reconstruction. Government involvement in these problems centred on the Office of Works, which in October 1940 became the Ministry of Works and Buildings, with wider responsibilities in the field of building.

Late in 1940 the new ministry was given responsibility for co-ordinating the planning of postwar reconstruction, while the Ministry of Health retained its statutory planning functions. In June 1942 these functions and the staff of the Town Planning Division were transferred to the Ministry of Works and Buildings, which was renamed the Ministry of Works and Planning.

The Ministry of Town and Country Planning was established by an act of the same name in 1943, the statutory functions formerly performed by the Ministry of Works and Planning being transferred to it. The new ministry was also charged with securing consistency and continuity in the framing and execution of a national policy concerning the use and development of land in England and Wales. Primary responsibility for policy in connection with industrial location remained with the Board of Trade and for housing with the Ministry of Health.

The three main areas of departmental activity were therefore: liaison with local planning authorities, approval of planning schemes, issue of interim development orders and compulsory purchase orders and the hearing of appeals; the formulation of a national planning policy; and the drafting of legislation to facilitate wartime control of development and the planning of postwar redevelopment of war-damaged or blighted areas.

Ministry of Local Government and Planning, and Ministry of Housing and Local Government, 1951 to 1970

The Ministry of Local Government and Planning was formed in January 1951 by the merger of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning and the local government and environmental health divisions of the Ministry of Health. A Welsh office of the ministry was established in Cardiff.

In November 1951, following the election of a Conservative government, the title of the department was changed to Ministry of Housing and Local Government.The re-styled department retained all the functions of the Ministry of Local Government and Planning. In January 1957 ministerial responsibility for Welsh affairs was transferred to the Minister of Housing and Local Government from the Home Secretary. In the following December a Minister of State for Welsh Affairs was appointed in the department with special responsibility for the Welsh office of the ministry in Cardiff. In October 1964 the office of Secretary of State for Wales was established and the minister's special responsibilities came to an end. In 1965 the department's executive responsibilities in Wales were transferred to the new Welsh Office.

Also in 1965 functions relating to national parks and water resources and supply were transferred to the newly-created Ministry of Land and Natural Resources. In 1967 that ministry was dissolved and these responsibilities reverted to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government apart from those for Wales which passed to the Welsh Office.

From November 1968 to October 1969 the department included a separate Minister for Planning and Land subordinate to the Minister of Housing and Local Government. From October 1969 until June 1970 the ministry came under the general co-ordinating direction of the Secretary of State for Local Government and Regional Planning. In November 1970 it was absorbed in the newly-created Department of the Environment.

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