A democratic authority for the capital

From: Rosebery – Statesman in Turmoil (2005), by Leo McKinstry:

“…It fell to the Tories to implement an effective overhaul of local government by creating in 1888 a network of 62 county councils, 60 boroughs, and the new London County Council.

…Although a Scot by ancestry (Rosebery) was a Londoner by birth, and had always loved the city. He was a familiar figure in the West End and had just bought a large town house at 38 Berkeley Square (so he no longer had to rent from Lord Lansdowne), and was renowned for his philanthropy in the East End; in May 1888 he donated £2,500 for the construction of new public swimming baths on the Mile End Road. Moreover, he had long been a powerful advocate of the need for a democratic authority for the capital…

…writing to inform Munro-Ferguson of the purchase of 38 Berkeley Square, he said, ‘I left the matter absolutely to Hannah’s decision for, as I hate London, it cannot matter much where I live in it’ – a bizarre remark from someone who was soon to give most of his waking hours to the running of the capital.”

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