Local Government Regulation

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Essay title: In what ways and to what effect did local government intervene to ameliorate the adverse effects of industrialisation on the populations of towns and cities?

Towns and Cities in the nineteenth century grew extremely quickly as vast numbers of people congregated in urban environment’s which were created as a response to rapid industrialisation, this developed problems such as poor public health. The problems that became apparent had to be dealt with and this gave rise to local governments being set up to deal with these adverse effects. The effectiveness of the local government organisations can be demonstrated through looking at different towns and cities across Europe during this time of rapid industrialisation. I. Maver argues that the Glasgow Corporation was kept in prime efficiency by an array of experts who were the best in their fields; this suggests that the local government in Glasgow was working effectively to ameliorate the adverse effects of industrialisation.Whereas, A. Lees argues that the local governing elite in Hamburg effectively neglected the city’s population to focus on improving trade and commerce within the city. The main cities that will be used to demonstrate the contrasts in the effectiveness of local government’s attempts to address the adverse effects of industrialisation are: Glasgow which was largely effective in governing the population, Hamburg where the population was largely neglected by the local governing elites, Munich which can be used as a classic example of a well managed city and finally, Manchester whereby the local government tried to deal with the effects of industrialisation but ultimately failed. Despite all these cities playing a role as examples of the effectiveness of local government’s attempts to ameliorate the adverse effects of industrialisation, it will become clear that each city or town must be taken as an individual case and the effectiveness of the local government in dealing with the problems associated with industrialisation varied in different towns and cities in the nineteenth century.

Glasgow is an example of a city that responded reasonably well to the adverse effects of industrialisation on the population. For example, H. Fraser argues that in Glasgow in the 1860s and 1870s local government felt that it was essential that the populace was encouraged to wash to eradicate the contamination of the slums. In addition, the council in Glasgow made much of the fact that per capita the consumption of water was twice that of any English city. Therefore, this demonstrates the fact that the local governing body of Glasgow was essentially focused on improving conditions within the city and ensuring that the inhabitants of the city kept the highest possible standards of cleanliness to prevent the spread of disease. Furthermore, the officials employed by the Glasgow Corporation to run the gas and water supplies were far more advanced, in terms of ambition and commitment, than their private sector rivals. This is further evidence to show that the local government employed within Glasgow to deal with the adverse effects of industrialisation, were both effective and also had the public’s interests at the centre of their ambitions to improve the conditions with which the population had to deal with due to industrialisation. I. Maver claims that the larger departments within the Glasgow Corporation assumed the character of individual enterprises with no overall control. This demonstrates that despite Glasgow seemingly managing the problems of industrialisation well during this period the central part of local government found it hard to keep control over the development of different sectors such as the development of the tramways. This can be seen to lessen the effectiveness of the control that the local government was able to place upon the city during this period. However, the local government structure that was implemented in response to the problems...
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