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Rural district

From Academic Kids

In the British Isles rural districts were a historic type of local government district which covered predominantly rural areas. Rural districts had elected councils, which generally dealt with matters more local than the concerns of the county councils: for example, social housing, playgrounds and cemeteries rather than education and roads.

England and Wales

In England and Wales they were created in 1894 (by the Local Government Act 1894) along with urban districts. They replaced the earlier system of poor law unions and sanitary districts. Innitially there were over 700 rural districts in England and Wales, but many proved to be too small or poor to be viable. In the early 1930s 236 rural districts were abolished and merged and amalgamated into larger units.

The typical shape of a rural district was a ring around a town (which would be either an urban district or a municipal borough). Many rural districts were fragmentary, consisting of a number of detached parts. Many rural districts contained small market towns as their administrative centre.

All rural districts in England and Wales were abolished in 1974 (by the Local Government Act 1972) and were typically merged with nearby urban districts or boroughs to form a uniform pattern of districts, which contained urban and rural areas

Ireland

In what is now the Republic of Ireland (then a part of the United Kingdom) rural districts were created in 1898 by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. They were abolished in the early days of the Irish Free State in 1925 amid widespread accusations of corruption, and their functions transferred to the county councils.

In Northern Ireland they were abolished (along with all other local government of the old pattern), in 1973 and replaced with a system of unitary districts.

Germany

In Germany an equivlent of the rural district, the Landkreise still exists, see Districts of Germany.


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