Old Ordnance Survey Maps of Bedfordshire

This page summarises the local government organisation of Bedfordshire since 1889.

  • Bedfordshire County Council was formed in 1889, and in 1894 a network of boroughs, urban district and rural district councils was formed across the county.
  • Bedfordshire had three Municipal Boroughs: Bedford (dating back to 1836 and beyond), Dunstable (created 1864) and Luton (1876). Luton became a County Borough in 1964 (an attempt to gain that status in 1913 had been defeated in Parliament).
  • From 1894 there were also two Urban Districts: Biggleswade and Leighton Buzzard UDCs. They were joined by Ampthill UDC (1895), Kempston UDC (1896) and Sandy UDC (1927). Urban Districts had similar powers to Municipal Boroughs but lacked the right to elect mayors or aldermen.
  • From 1894 there were also 8 Rural District Councils covering the areas outside the major towns, but these had less powers. Initially most were based on the Unions, met at the Workhouse, and had the Guardians serving as councillors. These were: Ampthill, Bedford, Biggleswade, Eaton Bray, Eaton Socon, Holwell, Luton, and Woburn Rural Districts. However, Holwell was absorbed by Hitchin RDC (in Hertfordshire) in 1897, and Woburn by adjacent councils in 1900. Eaton Bray and Eaton Socon RDCs were abolished in 1933-4 and absorbed by adjacent councils.
  • In 1965 Linslade was transferred from Buckinghamshire to Bedfordshire and Leighton Buzzard UDC became Leighton-Linslade UDC.
  • In 1974 major reorganisation saw Bedfordshire adopt a two-tier local government structure, with a County Council and 4 District Councils: North Bedfordshire Borough (renamed Borough of Bedford in 1992), Luton Borough, Mid Bedfordshire District, and South Bedfordshire District.
  • In 1997 Luton became a unitary authority.
  • In 2009 Bedfordshire County Council was abolished. Bedford became a unitary authority. Mid Bedfordshire and South Bedfordshire were amalgamated as Central Bedfordshire and this became a unitary authority. Bedfordshire is therefore governed by three unitary authorities, though ceremonial and some other functions continue to be shared.
  • For a list of Bedfordshire maps go to the Bedfordshire page. For a full list of English maps, return to the England page

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