Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)RDCA
TitleRecords of the Rural District Councils Association
Extent86 volumes
DescriptionJournal of the RDCA, 1895-1974, incorporating signed sets of minutes together with annual meeting and conference papers; annual meeting minutes are signed from 1927; and other publications
ArrangementArranged into two series: Journal and minutes; and Annual Meeting and conference papers
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers
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Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryRural district councils were created (together with urban district councils and parish councils) by the Local Government Act of 1894, as successors of the rural sanitary authorities, which were themselves created by the Public Health Act of 1875. The Rural District Councils Association (RDCA) was formed at a General Meeting of rural district councils in February of the following year. A report of the meeting in the RDCA's Official Circular Vol 1set out the objects of the association as being:
'(a) To afford Rural District Councils an opportunity of giving expression to their opinions when occasion requires, and to take action in matters affecting their interests
(b) To offer to Parliament, the Local Government Board and other bodies, the benefit of the collective experience of Rural District Councils
(c) To watch the working of the laws affecting such bodies and to promote such measures as may from time to time be deemed advisable
(d) To obtain and circulate information for the use of members
All rural district councils were eligible for membership and the Association was governed by an Executive Council, consisting of its officers (President, four Vice-Presidents, Treasurer and Secretary, all elected at the annual meeting) and 20 representatives. These last were elected by rural district councils on a national basis, their number being increased to 24 in 1926. From 1927 until 1944, the elections were conducted on a regional basis with two members appointed for each of eleven regions.

In 1945, the constitution of the RDCA was revised further. The system of election by region was abolished and regions were replaced by 42 county branches, each comprising the rural district councils grouped where possible within the area of a single administrative county. However, some branches combined more than one county and Wales was divided into two branches, one each for North and South Wales. A new Council replaced the Executive Council, and the number of seats available for elected members was increased to ensure that all branches were fully represented. A number of additional standing committees were appointed and in 1945, these comprised Housing and Planning, Public Health, Finance, Rating and Valuation, Law and Parliamentary and General Purposes. The Association grew steadily in size. At the first meeting of the Executive Council, 56 rural district councils had already joined. In 1901, 143 councils - out of a possible total of 667 - and this had increased to 454 by 1916. The RDCA achieved 100 per cent membership in 1953 when there were 476 councils.

Following local government reorganisation in April 1974, the RDCA ceased to exist. The Association of District Councils (ADC) replaced the RDCA and the UDCA as the representative body of all non-metropolitan district councils in England and district councils in Wales

Source: 'A list of the historical records retained by the Association of District Councils' compiled by Philippa Bassett as part of a research project funded by the Social Science Research Council (Birmingham: Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Birmingham, 1980)
Custodial HistoryThe custody of the records passed into the hands of the Association of District Councils and the records were held at their headquarters in Buckingham Gate, London in 1980. The records were deposited by the Local Government Association, November 1998
Related MaterialCadbury Research Library: Special Collections also holds the records of other local authority associations including the Association of Metropolitan Authorities (GB 150 AMA) and its predecessor the Association of Municipal Corporations (GB 150 AMC); the Association of County Councils (GB 150 ACC) and its predecessor, the County Councils Association (GB 150 CCA); the Urban District Councils Association (GB 150 UDCA); and the Association of District Councils (GB 150 ADC).