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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): COL/CC/MIN
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1668-1990
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 2 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:

Minutes and papers of various small, temporary committees of the Court of Common Council, 1668-1990. The Committees were formed to consider various matters including the election, remuneration and behaviour of officers and staff of the Corporation of London; consideration of the effects of various Parliamentary Acts and Bills; the historical rights and privileges of the City of London; the provision of cemeteries; parishes and benefices; metage, particularly of coal and corn; the reform of the Corporation; markets; building maintenance and preservation; debtors, insolvency and bankruptcy; the Gresham bequest; food imports; transport including railways; presentation of the Freedom to William Pitt; militia; the erection of monuments and statues; the funerals of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington and Horatio, Viscount Nelson; legacies and bequests; care of orphans; poor relief; estate management; schools and libraries; City finances; water and gas supply; Port of London; sewers; regulation of trade and licensing; street lighting; prisons and compters.

Also papers relating to the general organisation and running of Court of Common Council Committees, including the decision to allow public and press to attend certain committees, 1974; lists of committee Chairmen and members for various years; committee books, 1690-1727 and 1813-1990; bills books, 1873-1884; notes on the historical powers of the Court of Common Council and the Court of Aldermen and notes on the streamlining of committees and administration, 1835-1965.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

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:

Publication note:

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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