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London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): COL/CC/IMP

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1692-1887

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 12.4 linear metres

Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The concept of the Court of Common Council grew from the ancient custom of the Folkmoot, when the assent of the citizens to important acts was obtained. This custom was continued by the Mayor who consulted the Commons several times during the 13th century. From 1376 the assembly began to meet regularly and was referred to as the Common Council. It was decided that the Council should be made up of persons elected from each Ward. By 1384 a permanent Common Council chosen by the citizens was established for all time. The Council assumed legislative functions and adopted financial powers, confirmed by Charters of 1377 and 1383. The Council has often used these powers to amend the civic constitution, regulate the election of Lord Mayor and other officials, and amend the functions of the City courts. The Council was judged so successful in the conduct of its duties that it was the only Corporation unreformed by Parliament following the Municipal Corporations Commission report of 1837, while the Corporation Inquiry Commission of 1854 suggested only minor reforms. The work of the Council is conducted by a number of committees, while the whole Council has the right to approve policy, confirm major decisions and sanction expenditure. The committees handle many aspects of the running of the City including land and estates, finance and valuation, open spaces, street improvement and town planning, public health, police, Port of London, civil defence, airports, libraries, markets, education, and law. The Town Clerk has held responsibility for recording the minutes of the Council and its committees since 1274.

The Improvements Committee was entrusted with the execution of various Acts of Parliament for the improvement of streets and public buildings, such as the Holborn Valley Improvement Act, 1864; the London Prison and Moorfields Improvement Act, 1812 the London (City) Improvement Act, 1847 (Cannon Street); the improvement of the entrance to the City at Temple Bar, 1793; making a new street between Holborn Circus and Clerkenwell Green and improvements to the Fleet Valley and Central Terminus.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Improvements Committee, Court of Common Council, including minute books of a committee appointed for the discovery and improvement of any estate belonging to the City towards payment of the Orphans and other debts, 1692-1696; journals, minutes and committee papers relating to improvements at New Prison and Moorfields, 1811-1838; minutes and committee papers relating to improvements at Saint Martin's Le Grand, 1815-1827; journals, minutes, order books and committee papers relating to improvements at Temple Bar and Snow Hill, 1793-1817, journals, minutes, committee papers and administrative papers relating to improvements at Holborn Valley and Clerkenwell, 1845-1887; minutes and committee papers relating to improvements at Farringdon New Street (Committee to carry out the Act for making a new Street from Holborn Circus towards Clerkenwell Green), 1832-1842; minutes and committee papers relating to improvements at the Fleet Valley, 1851-1853; minutes and committee papers relating to excursions, 1861-1887; minutes relating to improvements to Cannon Street area and other improvements 1846-1854; committee papers relating to the Inner Circle Railway, 1878-1880; reports, 1851-1854; Holborn Viaduct Improvements engineers' reports, 1865-1874; standing orders for regulating the Committee, 1829; claims for compensation for property required under the City of London (Improvement) Acts 1847 and 1850, and the Clerkenwell Improvement Act 1851, with some tenders for ground surplus to requirements, 1847-1855; papers relating to baths and washhouses, 1849-1867 and papers relating to the first two local authority erected public housing schemes in London, Corporation Buildings (1865) and Viaduct Buildings (1875).


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright City of London.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

See also: CLA/006: City of London Commissioners of Sewers, COL/CC/GWC: Gas/Gas and Water Committee, COL/CC/HEB: City of London Board of Health, COL/CC/HEC: Health Committee, COL/CC/ITP: Joint (Public Health Department) Committee, COL/CC/MIN: Committees, COL/CC/PBC: Public Health Committee, COL/CC/PHC: Port and City of London Health Committee, COL/CC/PHE: Port Health and Environmental Services Committee, COL/CC/PHS: Port and City of London Health and Social Services Committee, COL/CC/PLH: Port of London Health Committee, COL/CC/SIC: Select and Special Committees, COL/CC/STS: Streets Committee, COL/CC/WCD: Whole Court (Public Health Department) Committee, COL/ESD: Environmental Services Department, COL/PL: Plans, the papers of the Community Services Department (COL/CSD), the papers of the Public Health Department (COL/PHD), the papers of the Planning Department (COL/PLD), the papers of the Surveyor's Department (COL/SVD) and the papers of the Technical Services Department (COL/TSD).

For records of the Corporation of London relating to building construction and improvements work, see COL/CC/BBB: Blackfriars Bridge (Building) Committee, COL/CC/BBR: Blackfriars Bridge (Repairing) Committee, COL/CC/BRC: Barbican Centre Committee, COL/CC/CLSB: City of London School Building Committee, COL/CC/CRE: Central Criminal Court (Extension) Committee, COL/CC/GHI: Guildhall Improvement Committee, COL/CC/GHY: Guildhall Yard East Building Committee, COL/CC/IMP: Improvements Committee (Corporation), COL/CC/LBI: London Bridge Improvements Committee, COL/CC/MRI: Markets Improvement Committee, COL/CC/SGC: Special (Guildhall Reconstruction) Committee, COL/CC/WAC: Works Advisory Committee, COL/CHD/IM: Chamberlain's Department: Improvements, COL/MH/MSH: The Mansion House, COL/PL: Plans, the papers of the Planning Department (COL/PLD), the papers of the Surveyor's Department (COL/SVD) and the papers of the Technical Services Department (COL/TSD).

Publication note:



Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: February 2009

Building construction | Building operations | Construction engineering
Housing | Accommodation | Building standards | Building design | Construction engineering
Maintenance | Engineering

Personal names

Corporate names
Improvements Committee | Court of Common Council | Corporation of London x Improvements and Finance Committee

City of London | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe