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The Webbs and the Borough of Morpeth

Fewster, Joseph M. (1966) The Webbs and the Borough of Morpeth. The English Historical Review, 81 (319). pp. 236-255. ISSN 1477-4534; Print 0013-8266

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Abstract

In their English Local Government from the Revolution to the Municipal Corporations Act: the Manor and the Borough (1924) Sidney and Beatrice Webb class Morpeth among the boroughs which they describe as 'municipal democracies', where the voice of the freemen, whether expressed in a public meeting or through representative institutions, was 'the determining factor'. Several criticisms can be made of the Webbs' description of this little north country borough. They draw a still-life rather than an action picture, and, as a result of not taking into account how the institutions which they describe actually operated, they miss some important points. Although they realize that the power of the lord of the manor was great, they do not appreciate how great it really was, nor do they indicate how it was reconciled with the considerable degree of autonomy which they believe the burgesses enjoyed. Above all, they fail to consider the effect of parliamentary politics on the administrative machinery of the town. In this essay it will be shown how this machinery was managed by the lord of the manor and his agents for political purposes, and an attempt will be made to elucidate some of the Webbs' statements and to correct others. - Introductory paragraph.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The full text is available at the jstor.org link. Reprinted by Longmans in 1966.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2017 15:16
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2017 15:18
URI: http://webbs.library.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/982

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