LG

Local Government in Ivybridge

Local Government in Ivybridge during the first half of the nineteenth century had been of a parochial basis under the ancient four parishes of Harford, Cornwood, Ugborough and Ermington. Whilst in 1836 the ecclesiastical district of Ivybridge was formed, taking in parts of these four parishes, it wasn’t until the second half of the nineteenth century that local administration was addressed, driven largely by public health issues.

 

The Public Health Act 1848 saw the introduction of an organised structure for public health across the nation. In areas which were reporting high death rates, with diseases such as cholera, an elected Board of Health was required but this only covered around 10 per cent of the urban population. The creation of a truly nation-wide Public Health Service did not occur until 1872 with the Public Health Act which mapped out the country into Sanitary Districts and elected Boards of Health. This brought the supply of water, sewerage, drainage, street cleansing, paving and environmental health regulation under a single local body.

 

On 6 Jan 1873 the eleven strong members of the Local Board of Health were declared in Ivybridge. In rural districts at this time, only ratepayers in respect of property and land situated within the district were eligible to vote in the election of board members. Furthermore, large property owners could have multiple votes depending on the overall value of their estate. It therefore followed that it was generally wealthy property owners or members of the professions that secured office. The first board was made up of William Abbot; Edward Allen, John Allen and John Allen Jnr; Robert Ford; Francis Holman; Samuel Head; William Mallett; Whinfield Robinson; Benjamin Sherwell and James Hill Toms.

Who were these gentleman of office?

William Abbot was a local plumber, painter and decorator.

John Allen and his two sons, Edward and John, were owners of Stowford Paper Mill and influential figures within Ivybridge.

Francis Holman was the owner of the other paper mill, Francis Holman & Son in Fore Street, manufacturing brown wrapping paper predominantly.

Robert Ford was a local farmer, as was Whinfield Robinson, who lived at Torrhill.

Samuel Head was the owner of the tannery in Fore Street.

William Mallett was the proprietor of the London Hotel.

James Hill Toms ran The King’s Arms Hotel and the Cattle Market.

Benjamin Sherwell was an Insurance Agent.

A local board of health was permitted to appoint a number of employees including a surveyor, a clerk, a treasurer and an officer of health who had to be a qualified doctor. It was compulsory for the Board to appoint an inspector of nuisances, (a sanitary inspector) to investigate complaints and take action against ‘nuisances’. These ranged from environmental public health problems such as insanitary dwellings, the accumulation of refuse and sewage, smoke, smells and other industrial emissions, polluted water, noise, adulterated food and slaughterhouse issues.

 

Mr John Cole served the Local Board as surveyor and sanitary inspector. He was later Registrar to the new cemetery at Woodlands.

 

The local board was tasked with all the responsibilities of a sanitary district. It was also given authority to purchase land. Where necessary, these local boards were required to define the boundaries of their jurisdiction. In Ivybridge, very little time was wasted in positioning carved stones, inscribed with the large letters ‘ILB’, denoting Ivybridge Local Board around the boundary of Ivybridge. At the time it was generally felt amongst the inhabitants that this should not have taken such high priority.

 

One of the first tasks undertaken was the construction of a reservoir located in Longtimber Woods to supply the village with clean drinking water. Water was diverted from the River Erme and the project was completed in 1874. Another major project, since the maintenance of burial grounds came under their jurisdiction, was the acquisition of land for a second cemetery. This was completed in 1883 following the announced closure of the churchyard beside St. Johns Church to all but near relations of those already buried although burials of ashes when cremations began to take place, were permitted. They are in the area of the old church’s foundations.

In pursuance of the Local Government Act 1894 and the establishment of elected parish councils in rural areas, all Sanitary Boards were turned into District Councils. This formed the basis of Britain’s Public Health system until 1936. Ivybridge, after taking in land from the neighbouring parishes of Harford, Cornwood, Ermington and Ugborough, became Ivybridge Urban District Council. It remained so until it amalgamated with Plympton St. Mary Rural District Council in 1935 when a Parish Council was formed. Under the new Act parish councillors would have a one-year term of office, with the old council retiring. There were to be between five and fifteen councillors, with the number fixed by the county council.

urban district council

The first meeting of the Ivybridge Urban District Council was held on 1 January 1895 where the new committee were selected. John Allen, having served the previous local board so well in the past was unanimously elected at Chairman and Baldwin Holman as vice-chairman.

 

Committee members at the time were :

John Allen and Edward Allen, owners of Stowford Paper Mill; Baldwin Holman, owner of Holman & Co Paper Mill, William Mackay, Postmaster; George Smallridge, shopkeeper; Samuel Head, proprietor of the tannery; Henry Blight, builder; William Love, Accounts Clerk and newspaper correspondent; James Chamberlain, paper mill engineer; Francis Henwood, grocer and draper and Rev. Dodd.

The final severance from the four parishes came in September 1895 when the National School in Station Road which came under the Ermington School Board was sold to the District of Ivybridge School Board for the sum of £380, representing the amount of an outstanding loan.

 

The Urban District Council met on the first Monday of each month at 8 Erme Road. Later on, meetings were held at Highland Street and after that in Fore Street in a cottage near The King’s Arms. The Council made significant improvements to the lives of the people of Ivybridge, adding to the amenities and raising the general standard of health. This included upgrading the sewage system, electric lighting, providing cemented pavements replacing the old cobblestones, laying out a recreational ground and widening the roads eliminating dangerous corners and improving their surfaces with tar-spraying. The culmination of their efforts, following the passing of an Act of Parliament, was the provision of a new water supply, with the creation of a reservoir at Butter Brook.

New water supply for Ivybridge

On 31 May 1916, following a luncheon at Harford school for the large gathering of guests and members of the Urban District Council, an opening ceremony took place beside the reservoir. Mrs F.B.Mildmay, the wife of Col. Mildmay of Flete, M.P., having positioned herself on a special platform made ‘ two vigorous turns of the handle of the prettily beribboned turncock’, to officially open the reservoir and give Ivybridge its new supply of fresh water.

 

Mr Henry Blight then presented her with a silver muffin dish inscribed ‘Presented to Mrs F.B. Mildmay by the Urban District Council of Ivybridge in appreciation of her services at the opening of the Ivybridge Waterworks, Harford Moor, 31st May, 1916’.

 

The contract to build the impounding reservoir, created by forming a dam across Butter Brook on Harford Moor, had been carried out by Messrs. Relf & Son. The reservoir had a capacity of 4 million gallons of water which at the time, was far in excess of the demands of Ivybridge, so much so that the Urban Council stated that they would consider applications from elsewhere. The total cost of the scheme was around £15,000.

 

Col. Mildmay congratulated all present upon the completion of the scheme. He gave special thanks to Henry J.F. Lee, a member of the Urban District Council ‘who had laboured so unremittingly in the interests of all’. Mr Lee in his reply regretted that the scheme had cost so much above the original estimate but explained that with the Parliamentary costs of £1,780 and the ongoing interest it was unfortunately inevitable.

 

Other notable achievements of the Urban District Council was the installation of a sewerage plant and the building of a number of council houses at Mill Meadow.

Urban District Council at Harford
Members of Ivybridge Urban District Council outside Harford School attending the opening of Butter Brook Reservoir. Henry John Fice Lee is the prominent gentleman in the centre whilst Henry Blight is sat on the wall just to the right of Mr Lee.

It remained an Urban Authority until de-urbanised in 1935 and amalgamated with Plympton-St-Mary Rural District Council. Ivybridge lost control of the water supply and sewerage treatment works, along with the Magistrates Court and monthly cattle market, which were transferred to Plympton. The Urban District Clerk, Sanitary Inspector, Rate Collector and two roadmen were dispensed with and the Ivybridge Authority reverted to that of a Parish Council.

 

On 27 March 1935 the newly constituted Ivybridge Parish Council met for the first time. Mr J.H. Freeman, the chairman of the old Urban Council was elected chairman declaring that

‘We do not want to let the status of the town of Ivybridge down, although we have gone back to Parish Council administration. The ratepayers will still look to the Parish Council to look after their affairs.’

Ivybridge was of course a village at the time. Mr Freeman was a postman in Ivybridge and on his retirement in 1939 he had clocked up almost 40 years’ service, warranting an Imperial Service Medal.

 

This authority continued until 1974 when the Local Government Reform Act came into force and Ivybridge came under South Hams District Council.

Local Government in Ivybridge

Local Government in Ivybridge during the first half of the nineteenth century had been of a parochial basis under the ancient four parishes of Harford, Cornwood, Ugborough and Ermington. Whilst in 1836 the ecclesiastical district of Ivybridge was formed, taking in parts of these four parishes, it wasn’t until the second half of the nineteenth century that local administration was addressed, driven largely by public health issues.
The Public Health Act 1848 saw the introduction of an organised structure for public health across the nation. In areas which were reporting high death rates, with diseases such as cholera, an elected Board of Health was required but this only covered around 10 per cent of the urban population. The creation of a truly nation-wide Public Health Service did not occur until 1872 with the Public Health Act which mapped out the country into Sanitary Districts and elected Boards of Health. This brought the supply of water, sewerage, drainage, street cleansing, paving and environmental health regulation under a single local body.
On 6 Jan 1873 the eleven strong members of the Local Board of Health were declared in Ivybridge. In rural districts at this time, only ratepayers in respect of property and land situated within the district were eligible to vote in the election of board members. Furthermore, large property owners could have multiple votes depending on the overall value of their estate. It therefore followed that it was generally wealthy property owners or members of the professions that secured office. The first board was made up of William Abbot; Edward Allen, John Allen and John Allen Jnr; Robert Ford; Francis Holman; Samuel Head; William Mallett; Whinfield Robinson; Benjamin Sherwell and James Hill Toms.

 

Who were these gentlemen of office?
William Abbot was a local plumber, painter and decorator.
John Allen and his two sons, Edward and John, were owners of Stowford Paper Mill and influential figures within Ivybridge.
Francis Holman was the owner of the other paper mill, Francis Holman & Son in Fore Street, manufacturing brown wrapping paper predominantly.
Robert Ford was a local farmer, as was Whinfield Robinson, who lived at Torrhill.
Samuel Head was the owner of the tannery in Fore Street.
William Mallett was the proprietor of the London Hotel.
James Hill Toms ran The King’s Arms Hotel and the Cattle Market.
Benjamin Sherwell was an Insurance Agent.

 

A local board of health was permitted to appoint a number of employees including a surveyor, a clerk, a treasurer and an officer of health who had to be a qualified doctor. It was compulsory for the Board to appoint an inspector of nuisances, (a sanitary inspector) to investigate complaints and take action against ‘nuisances’. These ranged from environmental public health problems such as insanitary dwellings, the accumulation of refuse and sewage, smoke, smells and other industrial emissions, polluted water, noise, adulterated food and slaughterhouse issues.
Mr John Cole served the Local Board as surveyor and sanitary inspector. He was later Registrar to the new cemetery at Woodlands.
The local board was tasked with all the responsibilities of a sanitary district. It was also given authority to purchase land. Where necessary, these local boards were required to define the boundaries of their jurisdiction. In Ivybridge, very little time was wasted in positioning carved stones, inscribed with the large letters ‘ILB’, denoting Ivybridge Local Board around the boundary of Ivybridge. At the time it was generally felt amongst the inhabitants that this should not have taken such high priority.
One of the first tasks undertaken was the construction of a reservoir located in Longtimber Woods to supply the village with clean drinking water. Water was diverted from the River Erme and the project was completed in 1874. Another major project, since the maintenance of burial grounds came under their jurisdiction, was the acquisition of land for a second cemetery. This was completed in 1883 following the announced closure of the churchyard beside St. Johns Church to all but near relations of those already buried there although burials of ashes when cremations began to take place, were permitted. They are in the area of the old church’s foundations.
In pursuance of the Local Government Act 1894 and the establishment of elected parish councils in rural areas, all Sanitary Boards were turned into District Councils. This formed the basis of Britain’s Public Health system until 1936. Ivybridge, after taking in land from the neighbouring parishes of Harford, Cornwood, Ermington and Ugborough, became Ivybridge Urban District Council. It remained so until it amalgamated with Plympton St. Mary Rural District Council in 1935 when a Parish Council was formed. Under the new Act parish councillors would have a one-year term of office, with the old council retiring. There were to be between five and fifteen councillors, with the number fixed by the county council.
The first meeting of the Ivybridge Urban District Council was held on 1 January 1895 where the new committee were selected. John Allen, having served the previous local board so well in the past was unanimously elected at Chairman and Baldwin Holman as vice-chairman.
Committee members at the time were :
John Allen and Edward Allen, owners of Stowford Paper Mill; Baldwin Holman, owner of Holman & Co Paper Mill, William Mackay, Postmaster; George Smallridge, shopkeeper; Samuel Head, proprietor of the tannery; Henry Blight, builder; William Love, Accounts Clerk and newspaper correspondent; James Chamberlain, paper mill engineer; Francis Henwood, grocer and draper and Rev. Dodd.
The final severance from the four parishes came in September 1895 when the National School in Station Road which came under the Ermington School Board was sold to the District of Ivybridge School Board for the sum of £380, representing the amount of an outstanding loan.
The Urban District Council met on the first Monday of each month at 8 Erme Road. Later on, meetings were held at Highland Street and after that in Fore Street in a cottage near The King’s Arms. The Council made significant improvements to the lives of the people of Ivybridge, adding to the amenities and raising the general standard of health. This included upgrading the sewage system, electric lighting, providing cemented pavements replacing the old cobblestones, laying out a recreational ground and widening the roads eliminating dangerous corners and improving their surfaces with tar-spraying. The culmination of their efforts, following the passing of an Act of Parliament, was the provision of a new water supply, with the creation of a reservoir at Butter Brook.

 

New Water Supply for Ivybridge

On 31 May 1916, following a luncheon at Harford school for the large gathering of guests and members of the Urban District Council, an opening ceremony took place beside the reservoir. Mrs F.B.Mildmay, the wife of Col. Mildmay of Flete, M.P., having positioned herself on a special platform made ‘ two vigorous turns of the handle of the prettily beribboned turncock’, to officially open the reservoir and give Ivybridge its new supply of fresh water.
Mr Henry Blight then presented her with a silver muffin dish inscribed ‘Presented to Mrs F.B. Mildmay by the Urban District Council of Ivybridge in appreciation of her services at the opening of the Ivybridge Waterworks, Harford Moor, 31st May, 1916’.
The contract to build the impounding reservoir, created by forming a dam across Butter Brook on Harford Moor, had been carried out by Messrs. Relf & Son. The reservoir had a capacity of 4 million gallons of water which at the time, was far in excess of the demands of Ivybridge, so much so that the Urban Council stated that they would consider applications from elsewhere. The total cost of the scheme was around £15,000.
Col. Mildmay congratulated all present upon the completion of the scheme. He gave special thanks to Henry J.F. Lee, a member of the Urban District Council ‘who had laboured so unremittingly in the interests of all’. Mr Lee in his reply regretted that the scheme had cost so much above the original estimate but explained that with the Parliamentary costs of £1,780 and the ongoing interest it was unfortunately inevitable.
Other notable achievements of the Urban District Council was the installation of a sewerage plant and the building of a number of council houses at Mill Meadow.
Members of Ivybridge Urban District Council outside Harford School attending the opening of Butter Brook Reservoir. Henry John Fice Lee is the prominent gentleman in the centre whilst Henry Blight is sat on the wall just to the right of Mr Lee.
It remained an Urban Authority until de-urbanised in 1935 and amalgamated with Plympton-St-Mary Rural District Council. Ivybridge lost control of the water supply and sewerage treatment works, along with the Magistrates Court and monthly cattle market, which were transferred to Plympton. The Urban District Clerk, Sanitary Inspector, Rate Collector and two roadmen were dispensed with and the Ivybridge Authority reverted to that of a Parish Council.
On 27 March 1935 the newly constituted Ivybridge Parish Council met for the first time. Mr J.H. Freeman, the chairman of the old Urban Council was elected chairman declaring that ‘We do not want to let the status of the town of Ivybridge down, although we have gone back to Parish Council administration. The ratepayers will still look to the Parish Council to look after their affairs.’ Ivybridge was of course a village at the time. Mr Freeman was a postman in Ivybridge and on his retirement in 1939 he had clocked up almost 40 years’ service, warranting an Imperial Service Medal.
This authority continued until 1974 when the Local Government Reform Act came into force and Ivybridge came under South Hams District Council.