Mulbarton Parish Council
Mulbarton was one of the many villages up and down the country where a Parish Council was formed for the first time in 1894. This was the year of Gladstone's Local Government Act, which finally took local secular matters out of the hands of the church. Before then, parish matters were dealt with by the Vestry Meeting led by the Rector and churchwardens. Perhaps that explains why the Rector was not elected to the new Parish Council, although he did stand as a candidate!
The first councillors were elected in December 1894. Councillors were - and still are - unpaid volunteers, although a part-time Clerk could be appointed and paid. At its first meeting, held a few days later, in public, in the schoolroom, the Council agreed to meet on the first Monday of every month, and this decision has stood - with very few interruptions - until today. For more about Mulbarton Parish Council now, go to their website.
held on 4th December 1894 to form
Mr. Clay elected (30 votes) Chairman of the meeting.
[Rector also proposed, received 4 votes.]
Twelve parishioners nominated, of whom the seven who received the highest number of votes at the meeting were elected: Arthur Meade (43); William Church (40); George Nelson (37); William Huggins (36); William Towler (31); William Randall (30); James Barrett (29).
First meeting of the new Parish Council held on 13th December 1894 at 7 pm in the Schoolroom. Mr. W. Church elected Chairman. Mr. Peake appointed Parish Clerk.
Met again on 7th January 1895 - ordered a Parish Council rubber stamp (£1 from Mr. Dye) and agreed to meet on the first Monday of every month at 7 pm.
Clerk's annual salary of £9 (payable twice yearly) agreed on 17th April 1895
1895 Aug 7th 2 lamps and a ½ gal oil can to be purchased for the Council (for meetings in the Schoolroom)
Until 1949, parish councillors were elected at the Annual Parish Meeting which was - and still is - held every year. At first councillors were elected annually, but later this became every three years, and now they hold office for four years.
1949 - New methods of electing councillors introduced and every Parish Council in England & Wales will expire on 20th May 1949 for new elections.
Annual elections meant that parishioners came to the annual meeting to have their say and their vote. But apathy is nothing new - sometimes only one person and the clerk turned up.
Business items in the past were not so very different from today. Problems over road repairs and footpaths were high on the list. An entry in 1911 despairs of getting the problems solved - it could have been written this year! Litter in the pond and on the Common was a regular complaint - then as now. Allotments became a regular agenda item once 'a sub-committee of three practical men' was formed in 1914 - and continue in that way today.
Men have dominated the council until recently: the first woman councillor (Mrs. Mary Hill) was elected in 1922 and the first woman chairperson (Miss Larter) in 1949.