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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): COL/CC
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1272-2011
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 205 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.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Court of Common Council, Corporation of London, 1272-2002, including journals, 1416-2000; subject index to journals, 1416-1811; index to the repertories, journals and letter books, 1416-1750; indexed printed minutes, 1811-1965; fair minutes, 1788-1880; rough minutes 1866-1970; Public Health Department journals, 1898-1947; Principal Clerk's rough books, 1875-1916; Town Clerk's rough books, 1954-2002; agendas, 1773-2001 (with gaps); papers (reports, letters and documents laid before the Common Council), 1643-2001 (with gaps); Town Clerk's rough papers, 1956-2000; Acts of the Common Council, 15th century - 1806; standing orders, 1880 and 1941; pocket books (lists of members and officers, committees and other information), 1788-2011; extracts regarding committees of the Common Council, 1400-1732; extracts from letter books regarding the constitution of the Common Council, 1272-1327; other administrative papers relating to the Common Council, including petitions, regulations, powers and so on; papers regarding the election of Common Councilmen, 1536-1964; papers regarding porters, 1606-1860; papers regarding fellowship porters, 1607-1934; papers regarding tackle house and ticket porters, 1607-1823; papers regarding byelaws, 1543-1993; modification orders, 1964-1983; closing orders, 1949-1974; papers relating to tree preservation, 1969-1998; stopping up orders (highways), 1963-2002; stopping up orders (public paths), 1981-2000 and papers relating to town planning, 1972-1996.

NB - 'tackle porters' were responsible for loading and unloading ships and a 'fellowship porter' was a member of the fellowship of the Porters of Billingsgate. 'Ticket porters' were members of a body of porters in the City of London who were licensed by the Corporation; originally called street-porters, and distinct from tackle porters. They were entitled to work in the Corporation markets.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For more papers relating to Porters see: COL/CC/SGP: Select General Purposes (Porters) Committee.

Publication note:

For a detailed history of the Court of Common Council see The Corporation of London: its Origin, Constitution, Powers and Duties (Oxford University Press, 1950).

Description Notes

Archivist's 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

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