Website of the Laceby History Group

Local Government in Laceby

by Dennis Read


It may surprise many people to know that the system of Local Government as we know it today, with Parish, District or Borough and County Councils is only one hundred years old this year. Indeed so far as Laceby and other rural village communi ties are concerned, full democratic rights as we know them only came about as a result of the Local Government Acts of 1888 and 1894.

The National Scene before 1894

Prior to 1689, fI Local Government" was carried out on behalf of the crown by travelling Justices, much like the present day system of Circuit Judges. Although their first duty was the maintenance of Law and Order, they were called upon to take decisions on a whole range of local issues.

From 1689 the Tudor monarchs began to appoint Local Justices (magistrates) and use them much more for the operation and administration of Local Government, especially in regard to the Poor Laws, and the care and provision of Highways . These Justices appointed the Local Government officers e. g. the Overseers of the Poor, Surveyors of highways and the Parish Constables. During this time, the only bodies that had the right to levy taxes or rates were the House of Commons and the annual Parish Vestry Meeting.

At the beginning of the 17 th Century there were approximately 15,000 parishes, mainly controlled by the Squire, the magistrate and the Parson. They were pretty chaotic times, especially with the coming of the Industrial and Agricultural Revolutions, and it was not until 1818/1819 that some order came with the passing of the Sturge- Bourne Acts which gave :-

a) Voting rights to property owners.

b) An elected Parish Committee or Board of Guardians.

c) Paid Overseers and an improved Poor Law Administration.

The next step was the passing of the Local Government Act of 1831, which gave:-

a) One man one vote to all owners/ratepayers

b) Transfer of several functions from the Magistrates to the

Parish Committee /meeting including the appointment of the Local Government Officers.

In 1835 the Municipal Corporations Act gave democratic rights to all male persons in cities and towns and set up properly elected City Councils and Borough Councils. However it took a further fifty years, that is until 1894 for these rights and systems to be provided in rural areas.

After 1894

The local Government Acts of 1888 and 1894 set up the three tier system of Parish, District and County Councils and defined their specific functions. This is basically the system as we know it today, modified by the 1973 Local Government Act, which changed some of the duties and functions of the three types of authority, as well as changing many of the administrative areas. It introduced new counties like Humberside and streamlined the second tier from a mixture of County Boroughs, Boroughs, Urban District Councils and Rural District Councils into District Councils all with the same functions and duties.

These District Councils could apply for Borough Status if they so desired, which allowed them to have a Mayor as their chief citizen, but it did not alter their functions, e.g. Cleethorpes District Council became Cleethorpes Borough Council in 1975.

The Local Scene 1894- 1994

It was not until 1894 that Laceby got full Local Government and was represented by Laceby Parish Council, Grimsby Rural District Council

and Lindsey County Council. Let us look at each of these bodies:-

Laceby Parish Council

First met in 1894 under the Chairmanship of Mr. W.D.Field, the village Squire, who held this post for the next thirty seven years until his death in 1932.

There have only been nine other Chairmen since 1932.

They were:

Canon H.W. Knight : 1932
Mr. W.H. Allison : 1932 - 1942
Mr. A Johnson : 1942 - 1948
Mrs E Stanley : 1948 - 1950
Mr. R. Brooks : 1950 - 1967
Mr. S. Broddle : 1967 - 1984
Dr. P. Tissington: 1984 - 1988
Mrs. E. Sharman : 1988 - 1991
Mr. D. Read : 1991 - 1994

During the one hundred years since the Parish Council came being, there have been nineteen Clerks to the Council namely:-

Mr.W. Drury : 1894 - 1910

Mr.G. Smith : 1910

Mr.W.T. Osborne : 1910 - 1912

Mr. P. Herrick : 1912 - 1920

Mr.J.H. Marshall : 1920 - 1921

Mr. G. Sewell : 1921 - 1924

Mr. T. Shackles : 1924 - 1925

Mr. S. T. Forge : 1925 - 1828

Mr. P. Herrick : 1928 - 1944

Mr. W.H.Needham : 1944 - 1946

Mr. H.G.Hewitt : 1946 - 1954

Mr. J.M.Welton : 1954 - 1961

Mr. B. Needham : 1961 - 1965

Mr. G.H. Wrightham : 1965 - 1973

Mrs. J. Ringrose : 1973 - 1982

Mrs. J. Scott : 1982 - 1986

Mrs. J. Grimmer : 1986 - 1987

Mrs. C. Mumby : 1987 - 1990

Mrs V. Siviter : 1990

Mrs D. Weatherall : 1990 - 1994

Ninety four people have served as Parish Councillors during the last one hundred years, with Mr.Robert( Bob) Brooks being the longest serving Councillor, giving forty- seven years service.

Looking back through the old records of the Parish Council, particularly in its early years, one sees many interesting and sometimes unusual references, a small selection of which are quoted:-

The Parish Council found that it was not able to pay an expense claim of four shillings from the Dykereeve and constable Mr.F.Marshall . The Expenses were paid out of the Chairman's own pocket.

Again the Parish was "broke", and the Chairman lent the Council £1.12.6d for the sewer rate fund, to pay expenses.

Violent objections were raised to the proposed building of a Smallpox Hospital in Laceby. Dire warnings were given of the risk to the inhabitants. (Despite these objections, the hospital was eventually built between New Road and the Laceby Beck) .

It was reported that there was a measles epidemic in the village and the Parish council recommended that the Sunday Schools should be closed for a period.

The Parish Council discussed the provision at their expense of artificial teeth for the poor and needy. (Thirty years before the National Health service! ! ).

Maintaining its agricultural inheritance, the Council discussed the problems raised by the large populations of rooks, rats, rabbits and sparrows.

An apology for absence was recorded for Mr. W.D.Field, his first since 1894.

Grimsby Rural District Council 1894- 1974

Also set up in 1894, covering the outlying villages around Grimsby and Cleethorpes. It was responsible for services such as Public Health, Refuse Collection, Housing, Planning, and local Highways.

The Council's first meeting was in the Town Hall, Grimsby, and in its early years its offices were in various locations in the Town.

In the 1920's it settled in premises in Deansgate Terrace, (now under the Deansgate flyover). It remained there until 1968, when it moved to Immingham. The Council was disbanded in 1974, when the area became part of Cleethorpes District.

The first Rural District Councillors were the Squire Mr.W.D.Field and the Rector Rev H.W. Knight!!. Little changed from the pre- 1894 situation! The records are very sparse for these early years but it is known that Squire Field remained as member until his death in 1932.

From 1937 the record of Councillors who represented Laceby on the Rural District Council is:-

1937 - 1943 Mr. W.H.Allison Rev. H.W. Knight

1943 - 1948 Mr. A. Johnson Mr. R. Mawer

1946 - 1948 Mrs.E. Stanley Mr. R. Mawer

1949 - 1952 Mr. R. Brooks Mr. R. Mawer

1952 - 1955 Mrs.E. Stanley Mr. R. Mawer

1955 - 1958 Mr. E.W. Hopper Mr. R. Mawer

1958 - 1961 Mr. F. Partner Mr. R. Mawer

1961 - 1964 Mr. G.F.Ward Mr. R. Mawer

1964 - 1967 Mr. B. Dennis Mr. R. Mawer

1967 - 1970 Mr. S. Broddle Mr. R. Mawer

1970 - 1974 Mr. S. Broddle Mr. W.A. Altoft

Lindsey County Council 1889 -1974

The County Council came into being on the 1st April 1889 after elections were held in the January of that year when fifty- seven County Councillors were elected. Among them Mr. J.M.Richardson of Healing Manor, Ulceby was elected the first member for the Laceby Division.

This body was set up to control such functions as major highways, Education, Libraries, Police Fire and Ambulance services, and it remained in existence until 1974 when Humberside County Council was set up to administer the northern part of the old County of Lincolnshire. The Laceby division remained separate until 1937 when it became part of the Waltham Division. This continued until 1958 when Laceby became a separate division again and included the village of Healing.

During the period 1889-1937 only four people served as County Councillors, namely:-

1889 - 1904 : Mr. J.M.Richardson

1904 - 1922 : Mr. W.D. Field

1922 - 1934 : Mr. L.K. Osmond

1934 - 1937 : Mr. W. H. Allison

When Laceby elected its own member again in 1958 Major R. C. Fitzwilliam was elected. He served until 1974 when he was elected to be the Laceby Division's Councillor on Humberside County Council.

After 1974

The Parish Council continued as before but the Grimsby Rural District and Lindsey County Councils were disbanded and Cleethorpes Distict Council and Humberside County Council came into being-

Cleethorpes District Council

Established as a District council by the 1973 Local Government Act it became a Borough Council in 1976 . Cleethorpes Borough Council is responsible for Planning, Housing, Environmental Health, Sport and Recreation and Resort Activities.

The councillors elected to the new body in 1974 were:

Mrs. M. Addison
Mr. W.A. Altoft
Mr. D. Read

These Councillors served until 1979 when the reprtesentation was reduced to two members and Mrs. M. Addison and Mr. W.A.Altoft were re-elected.

From 1987 Mrs. M. Addison and Dr. P. Tissington have represented the Laceby Ward.

Humberside County Council

Set up under the 1973 Local government Act it is responsible for services such as Education , Highways, Social Services, Police, Fire,

waste disposal.

Major Clixby Fitzwilliam was the first Councillor for Laceby serving from 1974 until 1979. He was Chairman of the Council from 1976-1979.

From 1979 the Laceby division has been represented by

Mr. R. Macracken 1979 - 1983
Mr. P. Mills 1983 - 1994

by Dennis Read.