Cumbria Archive Service - Rural District Councils records

(Including Rural Sanitary Authorities)

For most of the 19th century, responsibility for public health in rural communities was divided between manorial courts and parish vestries. The Public Health Act (operative from 1875) tried to improve public health provision by creating new authorities. The county was split up into sanitary districts. Urban Sanitary Authorities were created in boroughs and in towns which already had a Local Board. Remaining areas became Rural Sanitary Districts in which the Poor Law Union Boards of Guardians acted as the Rural Sanitary Authority. The 1894 Local Government Act renamed these authorities Rural District Councils. They were abolished in 1974 and replaced by District Councils.

Rural Sanitary Authorities and Rural District councils were primarily established to deal with public health matters (sanitation, sewerage, water supply, nuisances, etc.) However, they gradually acquired other duties relating to building control (1875- ), highways (1878- ), council housing (1909- ), planning (1909- ) and overcrowding (1935- ). Rural District Councils often administered burial grounds.

For further information on the previous boundaries of urban district councils, rural district councils and borough councils see the maps of Cumberland 1894-1934 (PDF 150KB), and Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancs, 1934-1974 (PDF 150KB).

NOTE: Although not specifically stated, records between 1875-1894 were created by the Rural Sanitary Authority and records between 1894-1974 by the Rural District Council.

Links to online catalogues of holdings:

Alston RSA/Alston with Garrigill RDC Became Alston with Garrigill RDC 1894.  Superseded by Eden District Council 1974. (SRDA)

Bootle  Absorbed by Millom RDC 1934.  Additional records also available at Barrow: see online catalogue

Border  Created 1934 by amalgamation of Brampton, Carlisle and Longtown RDCs.  Superseded by Carlisle District Council 1974

Brampton Absorbed by Border RDC 1934

Carlisle Absorbed by Border RDC 1934

Cockermouth Superseded by Allerdale District Council 1974

East Ward Union RSA/East Westmorland RDC Absorbed by North Westmorland RDC 1935

Ennerdale Created 1934 by amalgamation of Arlecdon and Frizington, Cleator Moor, and Egremont UDCs and Whitehaven RDC. Superseded by Copeland Borough Council 197

Longtown Absorbed by Border RDC 1934

Millom Created 1934 by amalgamation of Bootle RDC and Millom UDC. Superseded by Copeland Borough Council 1974. Copies of minutes also available at Barrow                                                                                                 

North Lonsdale Previously known as Ulverston RDC. Renamed North Lonsdale RDC 1960. Superseded by South Lakeland District Council 1974. Only building plans catalogued: contact Barrow Archives directly for details

North Westmorland Created 1934 by amalgamation of East Westmorland RDC, West Ward RDC and Shap UDC. Superseded by Eden District Council 1974. Catalogue not available online: contact Kendal Archives directly for details 

Penrith Superseded by Eden District Council 1974

Sedbergh   Superseded by South Lakeland District Council 1974

South Westmorland Created 1894 from Kendal Union RSA. In 1934 absorbed Klrkby Lonsdale but lost some townships to Lakes UDC. Superseded by South Lakeland District Council 1974                                                                                 

West Ward Absorbed by North Westmorland RDC 1934 except Hartsop and Patterdale townships, absorbed by Lakes UDC. Superseded by Eden District Council 1974

Whitehaven Absorbed by Ennerdale RDC 1934

Wigton Absorbed Aspatria, Holme Cultram and Wigton UDCs 1934. Superseded by Allerdale District Council 1974