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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): MCC/EV
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1897-1960
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 2.9 linear metres
Name of creator(s): MCC | Middlesex County Council x Middlesex County Council


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Valuation Department was established in 1927. It became the Estates and Valuation Department in 1948. The Chief Officer was the County Valuation Officer (1927-1938) and the County Valuer (1938-1965). The Department reported to the County Valuation Committee from 1927-1948 and thereafter to the Estates and Housing Committee.

The concept of raising money (rates) to pay for local services from property owners and occupiers is a tradition which goes back to the Tudors. The Poor Relief Act 1601 and the Highways Act 1654 both imposed parish rates to provide local services. By the second half of the nineteenth century the Justices were responsible for levying county rates, although as crown appointments they were not direct representatives of the ratepayers. It was this lack of representation which was one of the significant factors in the local government reforms of 1888.

Until the passing of the Rating and Valuation Act 1925 there were two local rates - the poor law rates levied by the Poor Law Unions and the general district rate levied by the local councils. The general rate originated from the 1840s sanitary legislation and was confined to urban areas, which included much of Middlesex. This was an inefficient system as it meant that in urban areas there were two separate rate collecting systems for public services, which were inadequate for county councils. Poor Law rates were generally higher than general rates and were levied on occupiers of property according to the annual value of property (this was determined by the Assessment Committees of Guardians). Standards of assessment were not uniform throughout the country.

Rating and Valuation Act 1925
Neville Chamberlain rationalised and reformed the rating system. The new system was based upon the Valuation (Metropolis) Act 1869. Local councils became the rating authorities and levied one rate for all local services, thus abolishing the Poor Law rate and anticipating the eventual abolition of the Poor Law Unions themselves in 1930. The County Councils, Poor Law Unions (until 1930) and the parishes were to issue precepts to the rating authorities. The rating authorities had to submit their rates assessments to committees which consisted of the county councils, their own representatives and the poor Law Guardians. The County Valuation Committees were empowered to secure, as far as was possible, uniform standard assessments throughout their areas. The lower tier authorities were the actual rating authorities and collected the monies. Three bodies were concerned in the preparation of rating assessments: the rating authorities; the assessment committees; and the County Valuation Committees.

1 Rating Authorities
These were the local authorities in Middlesex. They had their own valuation committees who made assessments and recorded details in valuation lists which were prepared once every five years. The lists were kept in local town halls.

2 Assessment Committees
Each country was divided into assessment areas. Middlesex had five areas with a committee for each area. Ratepayers who were dissatisfied with their assessment in the valuation list could appeal to these committees. Central Middlesex assessment area consisted of: Harrow on the Hill, Hendon UDC, Hendon RD, Kingsbury, Wealdstone, Wembley. North Middlesex assessment area consisted of: Edmonton, Enfield, Finchley, Friern Barnet, Hornsey, South Mimms, Southgate, Tottenham, Wood Green. South Middlesex assessment area consisted of: Brentford, Chiswick, Feltham, Hampton, Hampton Wick, Heston and Isleworth, Staines RD, Staines UD, Sunbury, Teddington, Twickenham. West Middlesex assessment area consisted of: Acton, Ealing, Greenford, Hanwell, Hayes, Southall-Norwood, Ruislip -Northwood, Uxbridge RD, Uxbridge UD, Yiewsley and Willesden.

3 County Valuation Committees
Three quarters of the rates collected by lower tier authorities had to be paid to the councils so the Valuation Committee had to ensure just decisions were made by the rating authorities. They investigated valuations and assisted the rating authorities and assessment committees.

The following types of buildings were exempt from rates: agricultural land and buildings, Crown property, police stations, Post Offices, telephone exchanges, courts, places of worship, voluntary schools, literary and scientific premises, ambassadors residencies, drill halls, some light houses. The following types of buildings were charged only a quarter of their rates: industrial premises (not public utilities) and docks, harbours, wharfs, canals, railways (not the London Underground which did not carry freight).

Local Government Act 1945
The attempts of the 1925 Act to establish uniform levels of rating assessments were not successful. This new act abolished the County Valuation Committees and transferred the preparation and amendment of valuation lists to the Inland Revenue. The levying of rates remained a local government function.

Acquisition and valuation of County Council property and land
The Department was also concerned with the negotiations for the acquisition and sale of County Council property. The County Council by necessity acquired many large areas of land and many buildings in order to carry out its statutory functions. The range of this property was very large and included municipal offices; houses; shops; sports grounds; schools and colleges; county estates; highways; factories.

Green Belt
In Middlesex the population rose at a rate of 30.8% between 1921 and 1931 (5 times above the normal rate and more than any other administrative county) and at a rate of 27.4% between 1931 and 1939 (7 times above the normal rate). This rise was due less to the rising birth rate than to adult migration as people moved out of London, surrounding counties and areas of depression in the north and west to occupy the new housing in Middlesex and to work in the industries growing up around the new arterial roads. The growth of transport services enable the rising working population in London and Middlesex to live in the suburbs and commute to work. This in turn produced a housing boom - in 1939 a third of all houses in England and Wales had been built since 1918 and 2,700,000 of these had been built since 1930. Concern grew about the detrimental effects development was having on rural areas and in 1927 Neville Chamberlain (the Minister of Health) set up the Greater London Regional Planning Committee. Chamberlain called for the establishment of an agricultural belt around the greater London area to separate the capital from development in he surrounding satellite areas. Furthermore the Committee's Technical Adviser, Sir Raymond Unwin, urged that recreation land be preserved for those living in London and Middlesex by a girdle of open space encircling greater London. Unwin urged that open spaces should not (as current legislation stood) be planned around building land, but that building development be planned around open spaces. The concept of Green Belt was given full backing by the Middlesex County Council. Middlesex County Council acquired some 10,000 acres of Green Belt land by 1965. Much of this was leased to the local authorities for management.

The land and properties of the County Council were transferred to the successor authorities (the Greater London Council, the London Boroughs, the County Councils of Surrey and Hertfordshire) according to the transfer of the appropriate functions.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Middlesex County Council Estates and Valuation Department, 1897-1960, including County rate basis registers of returns from clerks to assessment committees and from clerks to commissioners of taxes; objections to rate assessments; rating schedules for MCC properties, including special properties, out county assessments, analysis of variations in assessment, and register of proposals and proceedings; Middlesex Review Order maps; papers relating to special properties including railways, canals, sewers and parks; review and alteration of county boundaries and circular letters issued by the Department.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The archives have been arranged into the following series: MCC/EV/1 Returns of County Rate Basis; MCC/EV/2 Indexes of objections to rating assessments; MCC/EV/3 Miscellaneous; MCC/EV/4 Rating Section Schedules; MCC/EV/5 Revaluation of County Council properties; MCC/EV/PL Maps and plans.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the Corporation of London

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Some records may have been transferred to the Inland Revenue in 1948/49. Some material may have been passed onto the successor authorities in 1965.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired with the records of its parent authority, the Middlesex County Council, and with successor authorities.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Some rating records predating 1927 can be found in the records of the Middlesex County Council Finance Department. See also MCC/CL/EH, MCC/CL/L/EH, MCC/CL/VA and MCC/CL/L/VA.

Publication note:

For further information on the history of the Middlesex County Council please see Middlesex by Sir Clifford Radcliffe (2 editions, 1939 and 1953), LMA Library reference 97.09 MID; and The County Council of the Administrative County of Middlesex: 76 years of local government, 1 April 1889 to 31 March 1965, by Middlesex County Council (1965), LMA library reference S97.09 MID.

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:
April to June 2009

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