A hundred years ago, England’s municipal governments were the envy of the world. Every city ran its own trams, power and water systems, and the town hall was often the best looking building in town. Today, CityMetric’s excitement about the rise of the metro mayor notwithstanding, England is one of the most centralised countries in the western world.
So what went wrong? To take us on a whistle stop history of municipal England, I’m joined by self-professed local government nerd Emma Burnell. Our conversation takes in everything from Joseph Chamberlain to Clement Attlee to Derek Hatton to the Grenfell fire.
After that, we ask the audience: what’s the strangest local government name/boundary/job title you’ve come across? From the responses, incidentally, I am delighted to see that we’ve accidentally made the Tees Valley’s own Sue Jeffrey into a meme.