1st Edition

Borough Government and Politics Reading 1835-1985

By Alan Alexander Copyright 1985
    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    Originally published in 1985, this book was a study of one example of an all-purpose, unitary, borough council in the UK.   It covers the years since the democratization of the borough councils in 1835, through the attainment of county borough status in 1888, the major expansion in local government services in the first six decades of the 20th Century, and the decline, after reorganization, of both the boroughs in particular and local government in general. The book assesses the impact of the Borough Council on the town of Reading and its inhabitants, dealing with the politics of territorial expansion, the attempts to make a coherent education and the process by which local politics became dominated by political partisanship. The book’s examination, largely based on original sources, of government and politics in one English town, is of broader relevance to fields such as political history and the development of the party system. It will be of interest to local and urban historians and students of politics and public administration.

    1.Clearing the Roost 2. ‘A Clean, Orderly and Well-Governed Town’? 3. ‘Democracy and Proper Drains’ 4. ‘Earth Hunger’ 5. Education and the Politicians 6. Party Politics and the Business of the Corporation 7. ‘Having Powers in All Matters…’ 8. The End of Independence


    Alan Alexander is Emeritus Professor of Public Sector Management at the University of Strathclyde Business School.  Before his appointment to a professorship at Strathclyde and as founding director of the Scottish Local Authorities Management Centre, he held academic posts at Lakehead University, Ontario and at the University of Reading. He has served as a borough and county councillor and, since his early retirement he has held a series of senior public appointments including membership of the Economic and Social Research Council, of the Accounts Commission for Scotland and as Chair of Scottish Water. In 2024 he retired after more than four years as Chair of Audit Scotland, the national public audit body. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh of which he was General Secretary, 2013-18.

    Original reviews of Local Government in Britain Since Reorganisation:

    ‘Alexander’s book has a freshness and immediacy…his account of the working relationships between local authorities contains some fascinating material…Alexander’s book is a valuable account of this transitional period.’ David Regan, Local Government Studies, Vol 9, Issue 5 (1983).

    ‘The strength of the book is that [Alexander] begins to sketch the effects of interaction between two major consequences of reorganization – the uncritical acceptance of corporate management methods and the extension of political partisanship in policy-making.’ J.M Lee, Journal of Social Policy, Vol 12, Issue 3 (1983)