Local Government Act 1933

The Local Government Act 1933 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that consolidated and revised existing legislation that regulated local government in England (except the County of London) and Wales. It remained the principal legislation regulating local government until the Local Government Act 1972 took effect in 1974.

Local Government Act, 1933[1]
Long titleAn Act to consolidate with amendments the enactments relating to authorities for the purposes of local government in England and Wales exclusive (except in relation to certain matters) of London.
Citation23 & 24 Geo. 5 c. 51
Territorial extentEngland and Wales
Royal assent17 November 1933
Other legislation
Repealed byLocal Government Act 1972
Status: Repealed

Powers of local authorities

Although local authorities acquired few new powers or duties, the Act did include a few innovations:

  • One section dealt with custody of records, and led to the establishment of county record offices
  • It became easier for local authorities to form joint committees where they had a common interest
  • A council could acquire land outside of its area in order to perform its functions
  • County councils could agree to exchange areas of land to form more efficient boundaries
  • Rural and urban district councils, previously elected annually by thirds, could opt for elections of the whole council, triennially.

Administrative areas and local authorities

Although the 1933 Act did not create new local government areas, it repealed most of the Local Government Acts of 1888 and 1894, and parts of the Municipal Corporations Act 1882, and reestablished the existing councils and administrative areas.

Section 1 stated:

(1) For the purposes of local government, England and Wales (exclusive of London) shall be divided into administrative counties and county boroughs, and administrative counties shall be divided into county districts, being either non-county boroughs, urban districts or rural districts, and county boroughs and county districts shall consist of one or more parishes.
(2) Subject to any alteration of boundaries or the constitution of new authorities which may take effect after the passing of this Act--
(a) the administrative counties shall be the administrative counties which are named in Part I of the First Schedule to this Act;
(b) the county boroughs shall be the boroughs which are named in Part II of the First Schedule to this Act;
(c) the non-county boroughs shall be the boroughs which are named in Part III of the First Schedule to this Act;
(d) the urban districts shall be the urban districts other than boroughs existing at the passing of this Act;
(e) the rural districts shall be the rural districts existing at the passing of this Act; and
(f) the parishes shall be the urban parishes which at the passing of this Act are comprised in boroughs or urban districts, and the rural parishes which at the passing of this Act are comprised in rural districts.
(3) Every county borough shall, with respect to the functions which the council of the borough discharge, form a separate administrative area.

The term "non-county boroughs" was introduced in preference to "municipal borough" as county boroughs were also legally municipal boroughs. The councils for each of these various areas were to be known by the generic term of "local authorities" in this and subsequent legislation.

The actual titles of the councils remained the same:

  • X county council (or council of the county of X) for administrative counties
  • The mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the borough of Y (or (lord) mayor, aldermen and citizens of the city of Z) for boroughs
  • W urban district council (or urban district council of W)
  • V rural district council (or rural district council of V)

Rural parishes were governed by parish councils or parish meetings.

Local government areas listed in the Act

Administrative counties

(a) England (exclusive of London)

(b) Wales

County boroughs

(a) England

(b) Wales

Non-county boroughs

(a) England

Administrative county Non-county boroughs
Bedford Bedford, Dunstable, Luton
Berks Abingdon, Maidenhead, Newbury, New Windsor, Wallingford, Wokingham
Buckingham Aylesbury, Buckling, Chepping Wycombe
Cambridge Cambridge
Chester Congleton, Crewe, Dukinfield, Hyde, Macclesfield, Stalybridge
Cornwall Bodmin, Dunheved otherwise Launceston, Falmouth, Fowey, Helston, Liskeard, Lostwithiel, Penryn, Penzance, Saint Ives, Saltash, Truro
Cumberland Whitehaven, Workington
Derby Buxton, Chesterfield, Glossop, Ilkeston
Devon Barnstaple, Bideford, Clifton Dartmouth Hardness, Great Torrington, Honiton, Okehampton, South Molton, Tiverton, Totnes
Dorset Bridport, Dorchester, Lyme Regis, Poole, Shaftesbury, Wareham, Weymouth and Melcombe Regis
Durham Durham, Hartlepool, Jarrow, Stockton-on-Tees
Essex Barking, Chelmsford, Colchester, Harwich, Ilford, Leyton, Maldon, Saffron Walden, Walthamstow
Gloucester Cheltenham, Tewkesbury
Hereford Hereford, Leominster
Hertford Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Saint Alban, Watford
Huntingdon Godmanchester, Huntingdon, Saint Ives
Isle of Ely Wisbech
Isle of Wight Newport, Ryde
Kent Bromley, Chatham, Dartford, Deal, Dover, Faversham, Folkestone, Gillingham, Gravesend, Hythe, Lydd, Maidstone, Margate, New Romney, Queenborough, Ramsgate, Rochester, Sandwich, Tenterden, Royal Tunbridge Wells
Lancaster Accrington, Ashton-under-Lyne, Bacup, Chorley, Clitheroe, Colne, Darwen, Eccles, Fleetwood, Haslingden, Heywood, Lancaster, Lytham Saint Anne's, Middleton, Morecambe and Heysham, Mossley, Nelson, Rawtenstall, Stretford, Widnes
Leicester Loughborough
Lincoln, Parts of Holland Boston
Lincoln, Parts of Kesteven Grantham, Stamford
Lincoln, Parts of Lindsey Louth
Middlesex Acton, Brentford and Chiswick, Ealing, Finchley, Hendon, Heston and Isleworth, Hornsey, Southgate, Twickenham, Willesden, Wood Green
Monmouth Abergavenny, Monmouth
Norfolk King's Lynn, Thetford
Northampton Brackley, Daventry, Higham Ferrers
Northumberland Berwick-upon-Tweed, Blyth, Morpeth, Wallsend
Nottingham East Retford, Mansfield, Newark, Worksop
Oxford Banbury, Chipping Norton, Henley-upon-Thames, Woodstock
Salop Bishop's Castle, Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Wenlock
Soke of Peterborough Peterborough
Somerset Bridgwater, Chard, Glastonbury, Taunton, Wells, Yeovil
Southampton Aldershot, Andover, Basingstoke, Christchurch, Gosport, Lymington, Romsey, Winchester
Stafford Bilston, Lichfield, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Rowley Regis, Stafford, Tamworth, Wednesbury
Suffolk, East Aldeburgh, Beccles, Eye, Lowestoft, Southwold
Suffolk, West Bury Saint Edmunds, Sudbury
Surrey Barnes, Godalming, Guildford, Kingston upon Thames, Reigate, Richmond, Wimbledon
Sussex, East Bexhill, Hove, Lewes, Rye
Sussex, West Arundel, Chichester, Worthing
Warwick Nuneaton, Royal Leamington Spa, Rugby, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sutton Coldfield, Warwick
Westmorland Appleby, Kendal
Wilts Calne, Chippenham, Devizes, Malmesbury, Marlborough, New Sarum, Swindon, Wilton
Worcester Bewdley, Droitwich, Evesham, Kidderminster, Stourbridge
York, East Riding Beverley, Bridlington, Hedon
York, North Riding Redcar, Richmond, Scarborough, Thornaby-on-Tees
York, West Riding Batley, Brighouse, Goole, Harrogate, Keighley, Morley, Ossett, Pontefract, Pudsey, Ripon, Todmorden

(b) Wales

Administrative county Non-county boroughs
Anglesey Beaumaris
Brecknock Brecknock
Caernarvon Bangor, Caernarvon, Conway, Pwllheli
Cardigan Aberystwith, Cardigan, Lampeter
Carmarthen Carmarthen, Kidwelly, Llandovery, Llanelly
Denbigh Denbigh, Ruthin, Wrexham
Flint Flint
Glamorgan Cowbridge, Neath, Port Talbot
Montgomery Llanfyllin, Llanidloes, Montgomery, Welshpool
Pembroke Haverfordwest, Pembroke, Tenby

Amendment and repeal

The 1933 Act was amended by the Local Government Act 1958. The local authorities as defined in the Act, with the exception of rural parishes, were abolished in 1974, by the Local Government Act 1972, when most of the Act was repealed. Parts of the Act still have currency, however. For example, many council byelaws now in force are made under section 249 of the Act.



  1. Short title as conferred by s. 308 of the Act; the modern convention for the citation of short titles omits the comma after the word "Act"


  • Local Government Act 1933