The Municipal Administration of Glasgow, 1833-1912 : Public service and the Scottish Civic Identity

Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 1990
Thesis identifier
  • T6853
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • The Municipal administration of Glasgow, 1833-1912, examines the evolution of civic government in Scotland's major industrial city during a period of unprecedented urban development. The thesis is centred on the contribution of town councillors in determining a distinctly Scottish municipal identity, and the extent to which social, economic and political influences helped shape prevailing attitudes towards the public service. Biographical sources have been used to construct a collective profile of the 577 representatives who served on Glasgow Town Council during this time. However, attention is also focused on the municipal bureaucracy, especially the role of the Town Clerks. The 1833 Burgh Reform Act redefined the civic entity of Glasgow, and removed the traditional burgess basis of authcirity. Yet it was not until 1846 that the Council was able to overcome numerous legal obstacles and extend its sphere of operations. Thereafter, municipal policy was directed towards a programme of city improvenent, beginning with the spectacularly successful Loch Katrine water supply in 1855. The quality of urban life was a major civic preoccupation, and the importance of issues such as temperance reflected the concern of many councillors to present a more positive image for Glasgow. The notion of "civic pride" took firm root during the 1850s, and the following decades represented a period of steady consolidation. During this time the Council expended considerable energy in attempting to extend the municipal boundaries, particularly as many outlying areas already benefited from Glasgow's public utilities. After several false starts, success was achieved in 1891, and the municipality underwent extensive administrative restructuring. Yet by the 1900s, the rise of Labour and the spectre of "municipal socialism" had called Glasgow's civic priorities into question. Despite the controversy, there was no significant reversal of the Council's long-held expansionist strategy, and territorial additions in 1912 enlarged the city substantially.
Resource Type
  • Scanned copy in 2 volumes.
Date Created
  • 1990
Former identifier
  • 209698