Old Ordnance Survey Maps of East Sussex

This page summarises the local government organisation of East Sussex since 1889.

  • East Sussex County Council was formed in 1889, and in 1894 a network of boroughs, urban district and rural district councils was formed across the county.
  • East Sussex had two Municipal Boroughs dating from 1836 (or before): Hastings and Rye. Brighton became a Municipal Borough in 1854, Lewes in 1881, Eastbourne in 1883, Hove in 1898, and Bexhill in 1902.
  • Brighton and Hastings became County Boroughs, and so independent of East Sussex County Council, in 1889. Eastbourne became a County Borough in 1911.
  • From 1894 there were also 10 Urban Districts: Battle, Bexhill, Burgess Hill, Cuckfield, East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Hove, Newhaven, Seaford, and Uckfield UDCs. A new urban district was created for Portslade-by-Sea in 1898. Urban Districts had similar powers to boroughs but lacked the powers to appoint mayors or aldermen.
  • As mentioned above, Bexhill and Hove UDs became Municipal Boroughs in 1902 and 1898 respectively.
  • There was some reorganisation in 1934. Battle UDC and Uckfield UDC were absorbed by their Rural Districts. Haywards Heath UD was absorbed by Cuckfield UD.
  • There were also 12 Rural District Councils covering the areas outside the major towns. These were: Battle, Chailey, Cuckfield, Eastbourne*, East Grinstead*, Hailsham, Hastings*, Newhaven*, Rye*, Steyning East (abolished 1928), Ticehurst*, and Uckfield Rural Districts. Most Rural Districts were initially based on the Poor Law Unions, with meetings held at the workhouse.
  • In 1934 there was a reorganisation and the Rural Districts marked * were abolished and merged into adjacent districts.
  • In 1974 major reorganisation saw the urban and rural districts abolished and a 2-tier structure established, with the County Council and seven Districts: Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings. Hove, Lewes, Rother and Wealden.
  • Burgess Hill, Cuckfield (incl Haywards Heath) and East Grinstead were transferred to West Sussex from East Sussex.
  • In 1974 West Sussex and East Sussex became separate ceremonial counties.
  • The county town is Lewes.
  • In 1997 Brighton and Hove districts merged, becoming Brighton & Hove, and this became a unitary council. It was granted city status in 2000.
  • For a list of our West Sussex maps go to the West Sussex page, or for East Sussex to the East Sussex page. For a full list of English maps, return to the England page
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