Website of the Laceby History Group

Local Government

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

The National Scene before 1894

Prior to 1689 , Local Government was carried out on behalf of the Crown by Travelling Justices, much like the present 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, and use them much more for the operation and administration of Local Government, especially in regard to the Poor Law and the care and provision of Highways. These Justices appointed the Local Government Officers, i.e. the Overseers of the Poor, Surveyors of Highways and the Parish Constables. During this time, the only bodies having the right to levy taxes or rates were the House of Commons and the indiviidual open Parish Vestry Meeting.

At the beginning of the 17th 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 1818/19 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 Local Government Act of 1831, which gave -

a) One man, one vote, to all ratepayers
b) Transfer of several functions from the Magistrates to the Parish Committee, including the appointment of 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 Town Councils. However, it took a further fifty years, that is until 1894, for these rights and systems to be provided to rural areas.

After 1894

The Local Government Acts of 1889 and 1894 set up the three tier system of Parish, District and County Council, 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 did not alter their functions, e. g., Cleethorpes District Council became Cleethorpes Borough Council in 1975.

The Local Scene 1889-1974

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 1894-1983 - First met in 1894, under the Chairmanship of Mr W D Field, the Village Squire, who held the post for the next thirty-seven years, until his death in 1932. There have only been six other Chairmen of the Parish Council in the years 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

During the ninety years since the Parish Council came into being, there have been sixteen 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        1925-1928
Mr P Herrick        1928-1944
Mr VI 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           1982-1984

Approximately eighty people have served as Parish Councillors during the last ninety years, with Mr R Brooks being the longest serving Councillor, giving forty-one years service.

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

1900 - The Parish Council found it was not entitled 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.

1902 - Again,the Parish was 'broke', and the Chairman lent
the Council £1 12s 5d for the sewer rate fund to pay
expenses.

1902 - 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).

1907 - 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.

1914 - The Parish Council discussed the provision, at their
expense, of artificial teeth for the poor and needy.
(Thirty years before the National Health Service ! ! )

1917 - Maintaining its agricultural inheritance, the Council
discussed the problems raised by the large popUlation of
rooks, rats, rabbits and sparrows.

1929 - An apology for absence is 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, Locaal 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 was 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, Rewerend H W Knight. Little changed from the pre-1894 situation! The records are very sparse for the early years, but it is known that Squire Field remained a member until his death in 1932.

From 1937, the record of Councillors who represented Laceby is -

1937 - 1943 Mr W H Allison       Rev H W Knight

1943 - 1946 Mr A Johnson         Mr R Mawer

1946 - 1948          "                              "

1948 - 1949   Mrs E S tanley                 "

1949 - 1952   Mr R Brooks          Mr R Mawer

1952 - 1955   Mrs E Stanley                  "

1955 - 1958   Mr E W Hopper                "   

1958 - 1961   Mr F Partner                    "

1961 - 1964   Mr G F Ward                    "

1964 - 1967   Mr B Dennis                    "

1967 - 1970   Mr S Broddle                   "

1970 - 1974   Mr S Broddle         Mr W A Altoft

Lindsey County Council 1899 - 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 the Humberside County Council was set up to administer the northern part of the old County of Lincolnshire. The Laceby Division remained separate 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 L 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 Cleethorpes District and Humberside County Council came into being -

Cleethorpes Borough Council 1974-1983

Established as a District Council by the 1973 Local Government Actit 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 representation was reduced to two members and Mrs M Addison and Mr W A Altoft were re-elected.

During Jubilee Year 1977-1978, Mr W A Altoft served as the Mayor of the Borough, and welcomed Her Majesty the Queen on her first visit to the Borough.

Humberside County Council 1974-1983

As stated above Major Fitzwilliam was the first Councillor for Laceby serving from 1974 until 1979. He was Chairman of the Council from 1976 to 1979. From 1979 to 1983 the Laceby Division was represented by Mr R McCracken.