- Rural district
Infobox subdivision type
name= Rural district
category= Local government district
England and Walesand Ireland
start_date= flagicon|England flagicon|Wales 1894
start_date2= flagicon|Ireland 1899
Local Government Act 1894
Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898
Local Government Act 1925
Local Government (Boundaries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971
Local Government Act 1972
end_date= flagicon|Ireland 1925/1930
end_date2= flagicon|England flagicon|Wales 1974
government= Rural district council
District Electoral Division
Rural districts were a type of
local governmentarea – now superseded – established at the end of the 19th century in England, Wales, and Irelandfor the administration of predominantly ruralareas at a level lower than that of the administrative counties. __TOC__
England and Wales
England and Walesthey were created in 1894 (by the Local Government Act 1894) along with urban districts. They replaced the earlier system of sanitary districts (themselves based on Poor Law Unions, but not replacing them).
Rural districts had elected Rural District Councils (RDCs), which inherited the functions of the earlier sanitary districts, but also had wider authority over matters such as local planning, council housing, and playgrounds and cemeteries. Matters such as
educationand roadswere the responsibility of county councils.
Originally there were 787 rural districts in England and Wales, as they were based directly upon the sanitary districts and poor law unions which had preceded them. Gradual urbanisation over the following decades lead to some rural districts being redefined as urban districts or merging with existing urban districts or boroughs. Other rural districts proved to be too small or poor to be viable, and following the passing of the
Local Government Act 1929, 236 rural districts were abolished and merged or amalgamated into larger units [ [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/types/status_page.jsp?unit_status=RD visionofbritain.org.uk] ] . Further mergers took place over following decades and by 1965 the number of districts had been reduced to 473.
The typical shape of a rural district was a doughnut shaped ring around a town (which would be either an
urban districtor a municipal borough). A good example of this was Melton and Belvoir Rural District( [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/bound_map_page.jsp?first=true&u_id=10109231&c_id=10001043 map] ) which surrounded the town of Melton Mowbray. Rural districts might often be, or become fragmentary, consisting of a number of detached parts, such as Wigan Rural District( [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/bound_map_page.jsp?first=true&u_id=10027044&c_id=10001043 map] ). Some rural districts had a more rounded shape and had a small town or village as the administrative centre.
A few rural districts consisted of only one parish (for example,
Tintwistle Rural District, Alston with Garrigill Rural District, South Mimms Rural District, King's Lynn Rural District, Disley Rural District and Crowland Rural District). In such districts there was no separate parish council, and the rural district council exercised its functions.
All rural districts in England and Wales were abolished in 1974 (by the
Local Government Act 1972) and were typically merged with nearby urban districts or boroughs to form a uniform pattern of districts, which contained urban and rural areas.
List of Rural Districts in England and Wales 1894 - 1930for the districts created in 1894; List of rural and urban districts in England, and List of rural and urban districts in Walesfor a list of rural districts at abolition in 1974.
Ireland, rural districts were created in 1898 by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. They were subdivided into District Electoral Divisions.
Following the division of Ireland, rural districts in the
Irish Free Statewere abolished in 1925, by the Local Government Act 1925, amid widespread accusations of corruption. Their functions were transferred to the county councils [http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/ZZA5Y1925.html Irish Statute Book, Local Government Act, 1925] ] (in County Dublinthey remained intact until 1930). [http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/ZZA27Y1930S82.html Irish Statute Book, Local Government (Dublin) Act, 1930] ] The former boundaries of the rural districts in the Republic of Irelandcontinue to be used for statistical purposes and defining constituences [http://www.cso.ie/census/documents/2006Appendix.pdf Appendix to Preliminary Report for the 2006 Census of Ireland] ] [http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2005/en/act/pub/0016/sched.html Schedule detailing Dáil constituency boundaries from Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2005] ]
Northern Ireland, rural districts continued to exist until 1973 when they were abolished (along with all other local government of the old pattern) and replaced with a system of unitary districts.
List of rural and urban districts in Northern Ireland.
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