publisher colophon
  • Participatory Government by Journalism:Class Periodicals and the Local State, 1880–1914

This article explores intersections between the local press, class periodicals, and local government by examining local government periodicals. This specialist genre balanced the trade press's generic "news you can use" with participatory forms of the New Journalism. By publishing advice columns, local government reports, multi-part series on local government law, and locally sourced fiction and poetry, local government periodicals offered a print sphere in which citizens and local officers could debate and shape governmental practices. I argue that through such participatory reader networks local government periodicals strove to transform Britain's hodgepodge of governing institutions into a politically representative, nationally standardized network of local authorities.

Reflecting on the stupendous growth of local government during the nineteenth century, jurist and regular class-periodical contributor Edward Jenks pleaded, "We need some help."1 Britain's "local government," he noted, "lies chaotic before us" due to a welter of "statutes, decisions of the courts, Orders in Council, and vague traditions."2 Jenks was far from alone in his exasperation. Despite decades of local, regional, and national acts, each tied to the professionalization of a particular field—for example, public health, civil engineering, policing, or librarianship—by the 1880s local government seemed like a tortuous morass that, as socialist John Morrison Davidson put it, "would test the intellect of Mahatma," let alone the average citizen living in a British village.3 Liberal commentator T. H. S. Escott similarly fretted about the state of local government, particularly in rural England, where the reforms of the Borough Council inaugurated by the 1835 Municipal Corporation Act had not been enacted: "The simple English villager is the creature of a highly complex economy … [living] in a parish, in a union, in a highway district, or in a county, according to the point of view which is taken, while in three of these he always is."4 Overlapping jurisdictions and tangled skeins of technocratic regimes enmeshed and confused ordinary Britons. How might individual citizens navigate such a system?

A proliferating genre of class periodical offered just such guidance. As a review of the County Council Gazette put it, if confused citizens, officers, and representatives "desire the practical help of a 'guide, philosopher, and friend,'" they could do no better than "study the clearly printed pages … of the organ of County Councils throughout the country"—local government periodicals.5 First developed in the 1830s, local government periodicals reached maturity at the end of the nineteenth century, addressing [End Page 18] all facets of an ever-expanding local government and providing the practical information needed to navigate its complexities. At once local and national, specialized and widely distributed, local government periodicals stood in stark contrast to the better-known New Journalism, which viewed the press as representing the people to government and the government to the people.6 Local government periodicals, in contrast, emphasized the role of local readers in responding to local government. Using a host of participatory forms—correspondence columns, locally sourced reports, and reader prizes—they offered a public sphere in which councilors, officers, and concerned citizens could collectively disentangle the ensnarled threads of local government.

The generic hybridity of local government periodicals was well adapted to the challenges of navigating late Victorian local government, especially the tension between local autonomy and national standardization. Typically, historians have viewed the local state through the lens of disciplinary individualism, "whereby individuals express their freedom through voluntary compliance with some greater law."7 As Zarena Aslami contends, late Victorian local government reforms, by attempting to establish the sovereignty of local authorities and to standardize their procedures, "effectively [instituted] an extended form of disciplinary individualism whereby the central power sought to achieve control over local governments by endowing them with an individual will."8 For Patrick Joyce, this delegation of power to localities was matched by a centralization of supervision and information control.9 However, as Christopher Harvie suggests, because the British state was based on an unwritten constitution, it came to rely on the cultural mediation of novels, histories, and the press.10

In this article, I explore how the local government periodical, as a class publication, worked alongside other forms of localist print—the local press, localist historiography, and government handbooks—to mediate between local prerogatives and national standardization. The local government periodical's participatory features challenge accounts of the local state that emphasize its disciplinary nature. By participating in debates within the pages of local government periodicals, which circulated both locally and nationally, local representatives, officers, and citizens exerted a degree of independence from the central state. Much like the local press, local government periodicals reported on and debated all aspects of government, both locally and nationally, everything from poor relief and land allotments to victualler licensing, sewers, libraries, gas, water, electricity, and tramways. As the powers of local government expanded, so, too, did the demand for periodical coverage. According to Aled Jones, Andrew Hobbs, and Mary Lester, the emergence of large provincial dailies, telegraph associations, and syndication networks during the late nineteenth century facilitated [End Page 19] the extension of the local press's local government coverage across a range of specialist periodicals.11 While periodical historians have offered case studies of some of these journals, the intersection between the local press, class periodicals, and the government remains largely unexamined.12

Located precisely at this crossroads, the local government periodical, like the local newspaper, offers a useful case study for examining how print mediated local government in the age of the New Journalism.

To explore such mediation, this article examines a wide survey of local government periodicals in their various forms, along with the study of individual titles and bibliographic and contextual information gleaned from press directories and reviews. I argue that local government periodicals offered a participatory public sphere that was ostensibly independent of the sorts of centralized bureaucratic institutions that are usually the focus of twenty-first-century histories of the local state. I analyze two predominant types of local government periodicals: general-interest local magazines and specialist national periodicals, both of which used participatory reader networks to direct their readers' attention to the operations of the local state.

Class Journalism, Local Government Periodicals, and Government Reform

The local government paper has received little scholarly attention. While the pioneering work of Hobbs and others has demonstrated the scope and influence of the provincial press, scholarship on class periodicals—journals guiding a more-or-less specialist audience through the intricacies of some specialization—remains scant.13 The porous boundary between trade and professional periodicals presents one significant challenge to researching local government periodicals. From agriculture, brewing, and chemistry to watch-making, yachting, and zoology, press directories lumped trade, professional, and special-interest papers under the category "class periodicals." So, too, did critical overviews in the popular press. All the Year Round's "Press of the Trades" defines the trade press as encompassing "journals circulating among the initiated, written by some of a fraternity for the behoof of the rest of their fraternity, the mere names of which are unknown to the outer world." Nevertheless, it commences its overview of specialist titles with medical, legal, and military journals, three of the most prominent professional classes of periodicals at the time.14 Likewise, Chambers's "Trade Newspapers" struggles to maintain a clear line between trade and professional papers, fretting that the "very jumble which we have made in putting these items together, in fact, well illustrates the heterogeneous medley of trade or special newspapers."15 [End Page 20]

Local government periodicals are also difficult to classify. Listed by newspaper directories as "class periodicals," they include a wide variety of titles, ranging from law and education to engineering and police journals. As such, they present two challenges to categorization. First, they straddle the line between the trade and professional presses, addressing fields categorized as trades (accounting, police, or victualling) and professions (law, medicine, engineering, or education). Accordingly, I use the term "local government periodical" to capture the elasticity of a diverse genre. Local government periodicals also addressed local and national audiences. Some, such as the Dawn (1901–8) or the Sunderland Citizen (1897–99), remained largely within the ambit of the local press; others aspired to reach a national audience.

Until the 1880s, local government periodicals were highly specialized publications. Those addressing multiple constituencies were typically annual directories of local authorities in England, Wales, Scotland, or Ireland. The rest usually treated no more than one or two dimensions of government. Accordingly, local government periodicals only coalesced into a distinct class of publications during the second half of the century. Press directories did not use the category "local government periodicals" until the 1870s, and they continued to divide the different aspects of local government into separate categories until the late 1880s. May's Press Guide in 1876, for instance, scattered local government periodicals across eleven different classes ranging from "parochial periodicals," such as the Local Government Chronicle (1855–1927), the Metropolitan (1872–1936), and the Poor Unions' Gazette (1857–1903), to "sanitary and social economy and science periodicals," such as Public Health (1873–) and the Sanitary Record (1874–1966). Such classifications suggest that until the local government reforms of the 1890s, local government papers were specialized periodicals targeting specific sectors of Britain's local government and its elite governing classes. Lawyers and aristocratic magistrates might turn to the Justice of the Peace (1837–1927) or County Courts Chronicle (1847–1919), while public health officials might gravitate towards the Sanitary Journal for Scotland (1872–1902). This specialization resulted from the rapid differentiation of the local press and the closed nature of local government, whose representatives were often indirectly elected even after reforms like the Municipal Corporation Act of 1835 eliminated such practices in many urban areas.16 Riding the wave of trade press expansion and a series of local government reforms at the fin de siècle, local government periodicals both expanded their ranks and reinvented their form and function—processes that were closely entwined with the growth of class periodicals. [End Page 21]

In 1836, Parliament distinguished class periodicals from newspapers based on their omission of general or public news. These periodicals could be printed on unstamped paper and thereby circulate post-free.17 Following the repeal of the 1855 Stamp Tax, class periodicals came to be defined as journals meeting the needs of a definable group of readers. While this definition would become axiomatic by the 1880s,18 it was also asserted earlier, in the years immediately following the repeal of so-called Taxes on Knowledge. Blackwood's Magazine went so far as to declare that "our periodical literature is essentially a classed literature" given that the "sphere of every new publication is more and more limited."19 While in 1859 Blackwood's could declare that "every topic finds a journal," by the 1870s every topic could boast of numerous periodical titles.20 As the London, Provincial, and Colonial Press News reported in 1878, "The complaint at newsagents' shops is, that there is a difficulty in finding counter space for half of those [class journals] already in existence."21 According to Alan J. Lee, the "circulation [of class periodicals] must have been considerable" because it produced papers for gardeners, soldiers, sailors, lawyers, doctors, bakers, women, musicians, and architects—in short, for everybody.22

Contemporaneously with the class periodical's growth, British local government expanded throughout the nineteenth century. Between 1888 and 1898, Parliament passed a series of Local Government Acts that codified a model of the British state that had arguably been under formation since the early nineteenth century.23 These acts sought to orchestrate, democratize, and standardize local governance through the creation of all-purpose county, district, and parish councils, each modeled on the borough councils established by the 1835 Municipal Corporation Act. Before the passage of this legislation, local authorities had slowly acquired control over public charities, street lighting, roads, gasworks, and other institutions and infrastructures impacting daily life across the United Kingdom.24 By 1880, such government services had become a confusing hodgepodge of separate authorities, often with overlapping jurisdictions. As Jenks's, Davidson's, and Escott's comments suggest, from town to country, city to city, governance was perceived as uneven, with modernizing municipal boroughs administered by bureaucrats and technocrats and rural parishes governed by an amateur triumvirate of clergy, landowners, and farmers. Even where government structures were much the same, governance could be widely different. While some councils, such the Birmingham Borough Council, zealously municipalized everything from water to art museums, others, such as the Liverpool Borough Council, balked at providing even the most basic public services.25 Except in cities that had adopted the Municipal Corporation Act, local authorities remained resolutely "closed," with their influential officials indirectly elected by their peers or, if subject to a public vote, elected through a system of plural voting that privileged landed [End Page 22] and commercial elites.26 In Britain's parishes, the 1818 Select Vestry Act, which granted control over most facets of local government to indirectly elected select vestries, remained in force until the Local Government Act of 1894. As David Eastwood points out, the Select Vestry Act's plural voting "ensured that, where parishes adopted a select vestry, nomination to and generally membership of the select vestry would be dominated by the major ratepayers and their allies."27 Late-century reforms consolidated over 26,000 local authorities into nearly 15,000 institutions in England and Wales alone, in part by subjecting highway authorities and sanitary and sewer authorities to the control of representative, all-purpose councils.28 Amalgamation supported the democratizing effects of the reforms by subordinating once disparate local authorities under a single representative council, which allowed for more public control. Reforms outlawed most plural voting, eliminated property restrictions for voting and candidacy, and allowed women voting and candidacy rights for every local office other than the county council. Consolidating and democratizing local government, councils provided what William Holdsworth called the "foundation of a new, systematic, and symmetrical hierarchy of local bodies."29 Together these reforms sought to clarify the contours of the British local state, a network of locally autonomous and nationally standardized representative regimes.

The form of the Local Government Acts, however, complicated the efforts of localities to construct a local state.30 The Municipal Corporation Act of 1835 likewise cobbled together hundreds of local acts which were themselves compilations of similar acts.31 Because these Local Government Acts extended to all types of localities and the Municipal Corporation Act had the power to consolidate discrete local authorities, representatives and citizens needed to stay abreast of a wide range of professions in order to oversee local government effectively. As the nexus of services ranging from victualler licensing to sewer maintenance, local governments over-saw nearly all aspects of everyday life. The Sunderland Citizen reminded readers that "there is no possibility of permanent good local government till every member of the community has such a knowledge of its needs and the best means of supplying them."32 Indeed, community members interested in local government sensed that the promises of reform would depend upon collective deliberation and experimentation. The editors of the County Council Times (1889–1936) claimed that because of the convoluted nature of local government reforms, the "work of the Councils in the future may be stimulated and directed into proper channels by a free interchange of ideas."33

The sudden growth of local government periodicals after 1888 reflects this desire for a print venue in which citizens and government leaders could collectively interpret the new laws and develop a simplified mastery of local [End Page 23] governance's intersecting fields. The class periodical offered a widely disseminated vehicle for such efforts, especially given its reputation as "one of the best educators" for "spreading the technical knowledge of all classes, to the benefit of the entire community."34

In order to study the contours of local government periodicals, I examined a sample of one hundred titles. I found that in 1887 there were roughly twenty local government papers in the United Kingdom; by 1898, the year of the last Local Government Act, there were almost fifty. As more localities implemented the Local Government Acts during the first years of the twentieth century, the number of local government periodicals spiked. From 1900 to 1919, there were over fifty extant titles per year. A broad range of publishers produced local government periodicals. Presses specializing in government publications, such as Charles Knight and Company (1836–1909), Hadden, Best, and Company (1886–1914), Shaw and Sons (1750– present), and S. Edgecumbe-Rogers, published 21 percent of the papers in my sample, while government societies such as the County Council Association and the Municipal Officers Association accounted for another 12 percent.35 Half of the local government periodicals cost less than a shilling, while nearly a quarter cost 1d. These prices reflect a broader belief in the power of cheap periodicals to transform society, a principle that harkened back to Charles Knight's negotiations with the Poor Law Commission in 1834.36 Eighty percent of local government papers were published either weekly or monthly, while the costly annual directories accounted for the remaining 20 percent.37

This wave of local government periodicals aimed to ensure that local reforms would be enacted. Just as the Local Government Acts subordinated highway and sanitary authorities to the administration of elected councils, local government periodicals increasingly amalgamated various class periodicals under single titles. In about 1890, they transitioned from being specialized periodicals to being more generalist titles, while still remaining within the local government's ambit. We can see this in periodical title changes. For example, the Sanitary Journal for Scotland became the County and Municipal Record: The Magazine of Local Government in Scotland (1903–63). In "Our Policy," the County and Municipal Record's editor argued that this change arose because local government reforms "made apparent that sanitation cannot be dissociated from other aspects of local government."38 As councils absorbed more and more local authority, the necessity for a weekly magazine covering all aspects of local government was "thrust upon us by the persistent demand for more space, for more information, for more inter-communication of local ideas."39 Other journals followed suit. The Public Health Engineer (1897–1905) became the Local Government Officer (1906–11), and the School Board for London Gazette (1896–1904) became the London County Council Gazette [End Page 24] (1896–1928). And while these journals retained a focus on their original specialization—presumably because of the continuity of editors and staff—their expanded emphasis brought them in line with most new local government periodicals, which were class periodicals aimed at multiple specialist readerships. A typical issue might include material categorized by press directories as belonging in legal, public health, poor law, education, and policing periodicals.

While all local government periodicals were hybrid in form, they differed in distribution, audience, and program. Of the one hundred titles I studied, just over fifty aspired to circulate nationally, while nearly forty circulated primarily within a specific locality.40 Because locally circulated periodicals had fewer officials to court, they came to rely on lay readers and had to adopt popular forms like serial fiction, poetry, and reader prizes to survive in competitive and diverse local markets. Conversely, nationally distributed local government periodicals, with their wider circulations, primarily addressed local government officials. Local government periodicals fell into two broad categories, each with its own program: locally circulated general-readership periodicals that promoted political participation in local government and nationally distributed journals that attempted to develop councilors' and officers' simplified mastery of the legal and technological practices of local governance. In both categories, participatory formats played a key role.

General-Readership Local Government Periodicals in the Localities

Encouraged by the Local Government Acts' expansion of the local franchise, many local government periodicals were "not content with interpreting the world, but [doing their] best to change it."41 As Mary Lester argues, during the late nineteenth century the local press diversified into a proliferation of weekly papers, each emphasizing different aspects of local culture; this trend gave rise to an equally wide variety of political communities within any single locality.42 With such diversification came an expansion of local government coverage across a wide ideological range. Many local government periodicals circulated within these hyper-competitive markets. Warrington averaged nearly ten local newspapers and periodicals per year between 1888 and 1908, including the Sunrise (1888–1900) and the Dawn (1901–8), while Folkestone went from four to nineteen local papers during the existence of its local government paper, Folkestone Up-to-Date (1893–1904). Located within competitive press ecosystems, local government periodicals assumed the local press's variegated form, incorporating popular genres like children's literature, serial fiction, and poetry. They also promoted an ethos of representative government for all citizens, many of whom—women and the working classes—had been newly enfranchised [End Page 25] at the local level. Using a range of participatory forms—locally authored children's literature, fiction, and poetry, as well as essay prizes—local government periodicals mediated between the government and its citizens, not only by serving as a print complement to the expanding representative organs of British rule—for example, local elections and council meetings—but also by collectively developing an ethical foundation for local self-governance.

Typically fixing the boundaries of their local communities around a single urban center, county, or region, local government periodicals were scattered across much of England: The Sunderland Citizen in the North East, the Pioneer (1896–1916) in Yorkshire, the Villager and Parish Council Adviser (1895–1901) in the Midlands, the Sunrise (1888–1900) and the Dawn (1901–8) in Cheshire, the Municipal Free Press (1903–?) in Durham, and the West Ham Ratepayer Journal (1900–1902) and London Municipal Notes (1905–22) in greater London. Which aspects of local government a periodical emphasized depended on the economic base of its locality. For instance, the three local government periodicals from industrial Warrington—the Sunrise, Dawn, and Sunrise Annual—fixate on the borough council and its ability to alleviate urban poverty and clean up industrial pollution and blight. Published in the heart of the largely rural Midlands, Leicester's Villager focused on parish and rural district councils and their potential to implement land redistribution and promote agricultural laborers' interests. London-centric periodicals attempted to coordinate the metropolis's array of local authorities with the overarching regime of the London County Council.43

Locally authored serial fiction, children's stories, and poetry promoted the value of government-oriented public service. The effectiveness of such content was based in part on its capacity to evoke an imagined local community shared by readers and the author. According to Graham Law, the local press's serial fiction furthered the "reinvention of local and regional traditions" by forging local imagined communities.44 While Law's attention to syndicated fiction leads him to posit communities like the "North," local government periodicals often published unsyndicated, locally authored works with local settings in an attempt to forge more familiar imagined communities centered around local government. As with syndicated regional fiction, literary works published in local government periodicals were often composed by local authors. The short-lived Sunder-land Citizen published fiction series like "The Reminiscences of Alderman Doublechin" (1897) and "Roger Stokoe, A Wearside Romance" (1898).45 The Dawn, in particular, strove to "foster local talent," printing serial fiction from northerners like Robert Merton, Lily R. Chapman, and Arthur James, stories by local children, and poetry by Luke Hamilton Talbot, Warrington's chief constable.46 These literary productions combined local [End Page 26] settings with plots focused on an individual and collective civic awakening that promoted selflessness and public duty. Chapman sets her serial "Scenes from the Life of a Lady Doctor" in Cheshire and Lancashire, thus providing readers of the Dawn with a familiar context for imagining women's participation in medicine, a profession long affiliated with local government.47 The Dawn's recurring column "For the Young Folks" mimicked the participatory reader networks associated with the New Journalism and the forms of interactive readership first developed in periodicals like the Boy's Own Magazine (1855–74) and the Boy's Journal (1863–71) in order to foster children's civic-mindedness and involvement in local government.48 "For the Young Folks" typically printed a child-authored short story, poem, fairy tale, "or other interesting narrative."49 In order to encourage local children to contribute, each issue asks, "Who will try for the next number?" In this way, the Dawn hoped to enlist children in the magazine's efforts to reform local government.

Arthur James's "Harold Wolfgang: A Novel," serialized in the Dawn (1901–5), exemplifies this merging of local setting with political activism. James's novel commences with its eponymous hero walking along the Mersey estuary outside "Mornington," a thinly fictionalized Warrington: "To the right, the Mersey—with its mighty merchant navy; to the left the Dee—its banks pastoral and romantic; whilst in every direction woodland and hill diversified and enriched a scene of beautifully sequestered country life. This was Cheshire, the county of fat cheeses and plump dairymaids; one of England's finest shires."50 Here James combines the natural and governmental landscapes of Cheshire to promote a sense of local pride centered on local politics. The Mersey landscape, as constituted by economies (mercantile shipping and dairy farming), populations (agricultural laborers), and natural features (rivers, estuaries, woodland, and hills), renders the administrative county, Cheshire, "one of England's finest." Shifting into Harold's point of view, James allows readers to stare out across the landscape. He is described as being "buoyant as he stood, and gazed about him," thereby functioning as a stand-in for the implied local reader.51 Chestrian and Lancastrian readers are likewise encouraged to feel hopeful as they encounter an idealized consolidation of government, economy, community, and natural world. Buoyed by the repeated localization of setting through references to administrative territories—the Wirral hundred or the county of Cheshire—this opening chapter suggests that local government institutions provide the framework within which the reform measures expounded in the columns surrounding "Harold Wolfgang" are possible. Unfolding serially every other year until 1905, "Harold Wolfgang" focalizes its message about local government through the political bildung of its protagonists, Wolfgang and Walter Marrow. Realizing the novel's opening line, "we aim high, Harold," Wolfgang and Marrow establish their [End Page 27] own local government periodical, the Daybreak, with a "view of rousing [Mornington] from its long torpor and infusing into its dead civic bones the breath of life."52 Morrow accomplishes such civic awakening both as the editor of a local government periodical and as a councilman for his local ward. Wolfgang finds his moral purpose by working as a political orator who is instrumental in the election of "Morningtonian" reformers to the borough council and Parliament, thereby forging a political culture committed to local and national government reform.

Following a key trend in the late Victorian local press, the Dawn published the poetry of numerous real-life Wolfgangs. This included Luke Hamilton Talbot, who served as Warrington's chief constable from 1895 until 1906.53 He was praised by the Dawn's editor, Arthur Bennett, as being Warrington's "poet-constable."54 A contributor of articles to the Police Register and poetry to Boston Pilot, the Detroit Free Press, and the Clarion, Talbot produced his "best and most original works" during his "eleven years spent along the banks of the Mersey" in Warrington.55 Talbot's sixteen poems far outpaced other Dawn contributors and often reinforced the idea of civic awakening common to many local government periodicals.56 In "The Land of 'Manana'" and "In Babylon," Talbot takes readers from the squalor of the late Victorian city to a dawning municipal utopia like the one fictionalized by Bennett himself in Dream of a Warringtonian (1900) and Warrington: As It Was, As It Is, and As It Will Be (1892). Talbot's "The Land of 'Manana'" depicts contemporary England as awakening from a "spell of slumber" characterized by capitalist exploitation and unsanitary housing, as evoked in the word "mañana" (Spanish for "tomorrow"). Yet the poem closes with an image of a collective ethos's "violet skies" as they "richly ripen rare abundance."57 Similarly, "In Babylon" describes a squalid city with "shoulders burdened," "weary feet," and "faded faces," which ultimately reveals "sweet eyes that are brave and patient."58 The poem suggests that such awakening will occur when the citizenry arise with the "strength to suffer or strike in the cause of truth."59 Talbot's poetry echoed his own participation in local government, not only as chief constable, a role he used to improve discipline in the police force, but also as an avid supporter of the Municipal Athletic Club and as organizer of countless local festivals and functions.60 Combining literary output with full-hearted and selfless participation in local government, Talbot modeled the ethos of local self-governance promoted by local government periodicals aimed at a general readership.

Readers of local government periodicals were also encouraged to develop and demonstrate their capacity to govern by participating in prize competitions. The Yeoman, for example, offered essay and poetry prizes on topics related to its land colonization program. Attempting to use the allotment powers of the Local Government Act of 1894 to place unused [End Page 28] land under public control and then populate that land with urban workers, the land colonization movement envisioned a socialist, small-holder alternative to large-scale land ownership and its capitalist modes of production. In answering prompts like "How to spend the parish rates?" or "Why we pay 150 millions sterling for imported food stuff?" in a manner "likely to prove most beneficial to Small Holders & Home Colonists," the Yeoman's readers could develop and potentially demonstrate their capacity for land colonization.61 Similarly, the Villager ran several prizes in an attempt to encourage the participation of local state officers and clerks in the executive functions of local government, something seen by radicals and socialists as critical to the success of local government reforms. In its call for essays on the "Management of Allotments," the Villager stipulated that "bad writing and faulty spelling will be overlooked, if the letter contains practical common-sense matter. The writers' names need not appear if they object."62 In claiming to overlook superficial flaws in writing, the editors appear to be coaxing working- and professional-class readers to submit correspondence; moreover, the promise of anonymous publication was intended to appeal to workers from small agricultural communities, where the squirearchy retained a hold over both local government and employment.63 Submissions for such prizes often exceeded editors' expectations, with one competition producing a flood of contributions that caused a two-month delay in the outcome.64 Unable to pick one winner, the Villager awarded prizes to Frederick Wareham of Clapham Common and G. Hickman, an agricultural laborer who for years had cultivated his own allotment field in Appleford, Berkshire.65 The selection of Hickman's essay gave teeth to the Villager's ongoing effort to counter metropolitan newspapers' "ridiculing of working-men parish councilors."66 Hickman's essay demonstrated that "if the working men of Great Britain were only loyal to each other, and to their own, they could make it a very different place to live" and that they possessed the deliberative capacity to master the increasingly specialized tasks of local government.67 Such prize winners thereby proved the fitness of the working and professional classes for local government administration.

Fiction, poetry, and prizes helped form a participatory print venture that both promoted the principles of local self-government and modeled the collective local action needed to put them into practice. General-readership local government periodicals thereby served as venues around which local political communities might coalesce in the hope of shaping the agenda of local government, just as the local press had long done. Appropriating popular periodical forms, the Dawn and similar periodicals situated themselves within a rapidly shifting and diversifying local press. They did so, of course, not merely to survive in an intensifying market but to foster principles of local self-government. Despite aspirations towards a more [End Page 29] general readership, local government periodicals still relied upon one constitutive generic feature of the class periodical: specialization. "Exclusivity," All the Year Round asserted, "is a necessity of … existence, as vital as concentration of aim and purpose."68 Using participatory forms derived from the New Journalism, local government periodicals mitigated against exclusivity of readership. However, their cohesion depended upon the class periodical's "concentration of aim and purpose," which focused a diverse readership on a common object: local government and its democratic administration.

Local Government Periodicals for Councilors and Officers across the Nation

No matter what reforms readers of local government periodicals may have desired, local officials had to navigate over a century of interwoven local and national acts and to address a host of specialist fields—finance, public health, civil engineering, and education.69 The complexity of such parameters convinced many local government officials that any council's ability to successfully pilot a project to completion depended upon collective, national deliberation. As class periodicals for local government councilors and officers, local government periodicals with a national outlook disentangled the snarled skeins of legal and technological practices. The editors of these periodicals—often legal writers specializing in local government—saw participatory national print circuits as critical to effective administration because recent reforms had failed to provide a fully standardized, national system in which to situate local policy. As the County and Municipal Record put it, "There is not a county, there is not a parish, there is not a municipality that has not its closely-organized system of administration. … Yet this vast system as a whole, comprehending small units of the farther islands as well as the large units of the rich counties and cities, has … been practically without any systematic or critical record."70 Local government periodicals with a national remit hoped that by "giving these great systems a more articulate voice" they could ensure the "complete organization and integration of local services."71 Through a host of participatory forms—including advice articles, correspondence columns, and locally sourced reports—nationally circulated local government periodicals offered local government officials a public venue in which they could collectively discuss and disseminate legal and technologically feasible governing practices.

Nationally circulated local government periodicals assumed that the Local Government Acts would shift authority from the central state to the localities. Capitalizing upon an emerging national press that was settling into a circuit of local-center information exchange by the late nineteenth century, local government periodicals saw themselves as "bureaus for the [End Page 30] exchange of critical ideas."72 The production and circulation of local government periodicals, like provincial papers, was national in its connections to broader networks of print. While individual titles employed local correspondents, they relied on national distribution chains, including printing hubs and telegraph associations—an overlapping, variegated array of networks of varying scales.73 Much like the provincial press described by Hobbs, scattered local correspondents supplied reports, opinions, and inquiries that the editors and staff of nationally distributed periodicals transformed into advice on local government practices before redistributing that guidance back across the localities. Local correspondents produced everything from advice articles and editorial inquiries to government reports and official advertisements.74 Typically, local correspondents were volunteers—councilors, clerks, or citizens—but occasionally local government papers relied on telegraph news agencies like the South-Eastern News and Literary Agency, which specialized in "articles, based on local information, on any subject connected with Local Government."75 For example, the Poor Law and Local Government Magazine and the County and Municipal Record contained an average of just over 40 percent of locally sourced material such as volunteer reports, letters to the editor, and official circulars.76 Such participatory material formed the bulk of annual directories, which published reports that were almost exclusively supplied by volunteer correspondents. These reports and official advertisements first linked localities to local government periodicals produced in publishing hubs like London, Dublin, Edinburgh, or Manchester and then to other local governments through editorial mediation. The County Council Times distributed volunteer reports, correspondence, and inquiries from across England and Wales through vendors in nearly all English and Welsh counties.77 In an advertisement published in the Councillor and Guardian, editor Thomas Farrow boasts that his periodical "Circulates in the Officers' Reading Rooms of the leading Workhouses, Infirmaries, and Asylums throughout the country."78 Much of his periodical's content—reports, letters, and circulars—came from councilors and officers occupying those very reading rooms. Through such print circuits, local government periodicals helped to nationalize an already-existing network of mediation constituted by the local press. They enabled distant local authorities to bypass centralized institutions like the Poor Law Commission and Local Government Board, centralized bodies cited by Patrick Joyce and other historians as evidence of late Victorian disciplinary control. Instead, local officials could coordinate their efforts with like-minded authorities in the pages of local government periodicals.

By foregrounding reader participation, each local government periodical could boast that it served as a "medium of communication between County Councilors" or a "medium of interesting communication between [End Page 31] the Parishes."79 Often authors of local government handbooks, such as John Richards Somers Vine of the County Government Review and Municipal Record (1877–90) and Charles Edmund Baker of the County and Local Government Magazine (1889–91), were committed to using print media to foster local government officials' simplification of what was, by 1900, a convoluted system of local government law, finance, and engineering services.80 Because late Victorian government reforms delegated public health, poor relief, and other institutions to representative councils, each councilor had to possess a working knowledge of these specializations if he or she hoped to manage them effectively. Local government periodicals provided such guidance by "furnishing information of a practical character upon the essentials belonging to our local government system … to the numerous officials engaged in [its] administration."81 Through locally produced volunteer reports and a variety of advice column formats, local government periodicals provided the newly minted councils with a guide for how one ought to govern but not what to govern.82 The Yeoman's boast was true of all nationally distributed local government periodicals: if the councils want to know, "The Yeoman will tell them how to go."83

However, due to the complexity of local government's legal meshes, engineering specializations, and financial intricacies, editors and staff often had to enlist specialist contributors to provide "special articles … in Municipal, Poor Law, Public Health, Highway, and other affairs."84 Expert contributors filled upwards of a third of each local government periodical issue with advice expounding upon all aspects of local government. Alexander B. Findlay, professor of chemistry at the University of Aberystwyth and author of numerous chemistry textbooks and series, contributed essays to the County and Municipal Record on food adulteration.85 Alfred S. Jones, an associate member of the Institute of Civil Engineers and president of the Association of Managers of Sewage Disposal Works, offered advice on sewage treatment.86 Temperance advocate C. Herbert-Smith urged officials to solve the problem of unruly public houses, not through criminal law but rather through a licensing regime that would set the basic parameters for public house operations—twelve-hour workdays, Sunday closures, and a minimum drinking age.87 John E. Dorington, magistrate and chairman of both the Stroud Board of Guardians and Gloucestershire County Council, advised fellow councilors on the importance of strong executive leadership for local government administration.88 Andrew Johnson, chairman of the Essex County Council, offered legal and technological advice on road maintenance while also contributing reports on the Essex County Council.89 In "County Surveyors," Robert Phillips, surveyor of the Gloucestershire County Council, warned councilors that local government was "passing now from the rule of the amateur in rural affairs to [End Page 32] the rule of the council and their professional advisor"; accordingly, venues like the County Council Magazine served as mediums of communication between councils and professionals.90

Contributors like Philips, however, offered advice that, while practicable within the parameters of the Local Government Acts, sometimes proved difficult to apply locally because of over a century of accumulated local acts. To better guide local authorities, local government periodicals supplemented advice articles with correspondence columns. Editor Thomas Castleblaen urged the "newly-elected Councillors, as well as Electors, to avail themselves of our Correspondence columns for the purpose of obtaining fuller information upon all questions which may arise."91 Offshoots of similar columns in the popular and local press, correspondence columns in nationally distributed local government periodicals advised bewildered councilors and officers on practices possible within both the parameters of the Local Government Acts and locally specific contexts.92 The County Council Times likewise "[invited] communications from County Councillors, Officials, and others on all questions relating to the duties or transactions of County Councils throughout the country," which it included in its "Answers to Correspondents" column.93 The County and Municipal Record followed suit with its "Questions for Editors" column. Nationally distributed local government periodicals rarely reprinted correspondents' letters, which allowed editors and other experts the space to develop detailed, locally tailored answers. Many answers pointed inquirers to specific clauses in a local government act or handbook, like the oft-advertised Ryde and Thomas's Local Government Act, 1888.94

The Parish Councillor published advice in several columns: "Answers to Correspondents," "Our Inquiry Column," and "Letters to Mr. Little John." "Answers" tended to include terse, single-paragraph responses to unprinted letters, and "Our Inquiry" elaborated on the topics addressed in "Answers," thereby deepening the advice offered in each issue. The "Letters to Mr. Little John, Parish Councillor" by "Robin Hood" merged multiple readers' questions together, offering in each column a cheeky yet detailed general overview of some aspect of local administration, while also addressing specific local contingencies.95 Advising Little John on "Rates and Land Values," for instance, Robin Hood broke from his elaboration of a "universally adopted" basis for rate assessment to stipulate that the eastern counties' agricultural market presents an exception insofar as "no rent at all has been obtained."96 In figuring the editor as "Robin Hood" and the average councilor as "Little John," the column tapped into a widespread radical conceit pitting Anglo-Saxon freedom against Norman oppression.97 This enabled the Parish Councillor to combine the general cast of advice articles with the local particularity of correspondence columns. Figured as [End Page 33] Little John, each inquiring local officer is synonymous with any other, yet, insofar as any inquiry elicits tailored advice from Robin Hood, the contributor retains his or her local particularity. Robin Hood's letters to Little John thereby consolidated a common dynamic of the advice in nationally distributed local government periodicals: an exchange between articles and correspondence columns that depicted readers as being both standardized and autonomous and as having both national and local concerns.

Reports in local government periodicals shaped the practices of local governance by offering local authorities models for emulation. As the Parish Councillor boasted in an 1895 Newspaper Press Directory advertisement, "Progress is to be made, and the experience of one parish when quickly conveyed to another, will help forward movement."98 Reports varied in length depending upon a periodical's commitment to local participation. Living up to its claim "that the work of the Councils in the future may be stimulated and directed into proper channels by a free interchange of ideas," the County Council Times devoted nearly half of each issue to a variety of reportage ranging from "Provincial Councils" and "London County Councils" to miscellaneous reports on local government associations.99 In contrast, only a tenth of the County and Municipal Record contained reports, the journal instead preferring to provide longer advice articles. The bulk of an annual directory included reportage, both in yearly summaries of major government activities, such as the Municipal Year Book's "Municipal Developments" and "Municipal Government in England" sections, and town-by-town reports of governing activities submitted by locals.

The form of such reporting, moreover, modeled the sort of local state that the local government periodicals sought to develop. Local government reports submitted by local contributors were organized alphabetically and were continually updated.100 Recurring features such as "In the Shires" (Parish Councillor), "Notes of the Month" (Poor Law and Local Government Magazine), and "County Council News" (County Council Gazette) lumped distant local authorities together. Local government directories such as Knight's Local Government Directory (1841–present) and Shaw and Son's Local Government Manual and Directory (1876–1922) similarly categorized government by types of local authorities. In 1901, the Municipal Year Book began listing localities alphabetically, first regionally (London, England, Scotland, and Ireland) and then according to government utilities such as gas, water, and electricity. As the Municipal Year Book noted, this format enabled annuals to "apportion the space given to each town according to the importance of its municipal undertakings."101 Patrick Joyce and Mark W. Turner both contend that the Victorian directory's combination of detailed, locally sourced reports and alphabetical classification produced genres in which each location or periodical could [End Page 34] "be known individually and assigned a place in a system."102 Likewise, the alphabetized reports in local government periodicals extracted each local council from its geographical, historical, and cultural relations with neighboring authorities and discursively connected them to non-contiguous local regimes. The reports conveyed the distinctiveness and autonomy of each local council but situated each locality within a broader government network.

Local Government Periodicals' Public Sphere and the Local State

Using the frame of periodical culture, we can see how the local government periodical might have helped mediate the boundaries between the government and its citizens along the representative and technocratic lines identified by Patrick Joyce and other historians in their descriptions of the local state. The demarcation between locally and nationally circulated local government periodicals suggests a broader trend in government reform wherein the local becomes the province of governmental politics and the national becomes the domain of the state's legal and technological control. This dynamic—the localization of politics and the nationalization of administration—corroborates Joyce's argument that the decline of the local state's power "was marked by [national] central control over information and 'intelligence.'"103 Yet an examination of the participatory reader networks in local government periodicals challenges common assumptions about the disciplinary, non-participatory nature of the British local state. After all, to varying degrees both locally and nationally distributed local government periodicals resuscitated a participatory public sphere thought to have been foreclosed by the New Journalism's model of government by journalism.

What sort of public sphere did local government periodicals construct during this period of the local press's diversification, the class periodical's proliferation, and the local state's expansion? As Mark Hampton notes, the New Journalism to some extent supplanted the mid-century notion of a participatory public sphere with a representative model that "assigned readers a passive role, excluding them from the formation of opinion."104 Yet this idea of a "'liberal ethos' of politics by public discussion" continued on into the early twentieth century in fragmented form.105 As Michelle Tusan has argued, niche publications enabled public spheres to coalesce around separate communities. Class publications, she argues, "played a critical role in creating an informed community … and in directing [its] activities."106 The local government periodical was a class periodical that was comprised of many classes and addressed varied readerships; it thus constituted the type of heterogeneous public sphere described by Nancy Fraser as a "more comprehensive arena in which members of different, more limited publics talk across lines of cultural diversity."107 Local government [End Page 35] periodicals constructed both a local and a national public sphere in which local government's culturally diverse stakeholders—councilors, officers, and citizens—could collectively deliberate on the British local state.

Michael Martel
University of California, Davis
Michael Martel

Michael Martel holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Davis. He is currently working on a book project that explores the print and literary history of nineteenth-century British local government. Martel's work on Victorian localism, print, and governance has appeared or will appear in Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature, the Routledge Research Companion to Anthony Trollope, and Victorian Literature and Culture.


2. Ibid.

12. Walker, "Reporting Play," Jackson, "Football Coverage," and Milton, "Uncle Toby's Legacy." Jones's "The Dart and the Damning of the Sylvan Stream" offers insight into the intersection between the local press, class periodicals, and government, although its analysis follows the representative model of government by journalism sketched by Hampton.

20. Ibid.; my emphasis.

23. These include the 1888 Local Government Act, the 1889 Local Government Act (Scotland), the 1894 Local Government Act, the 1894 Local Government Act (Scotland), and the 1898 Local Government Act (Ireland). [End Page 36] While the 1888 Local Government Act created the County of London and replaced the scandal-plagued Metropolitan Board of Works with the London County Council, the reform of London's government was largely treated separately, for example in the London Government Act of 1899. Well into the twentieth century, the City of London's governance remained unreformed.

24. This included the Lighting and Watching Act (1833), the Baths and Wash-houses Acts (1846–82), the Burial Acts (1852–85), the Public Libraries Act (1892), and the Locomotive and Highway Acts (1861, 1865, 1878).

25. For background on the rural lag, see Digby, "Local State," 1425–26. For further information on modernized local government, see Millward and Ward, "From Private to Public Ownership," 10. And for discussion of Liverpool, see Fraser, Power and Authority, 48.

27. Ibid.

31. Ibid., 7. The history of local government legislatures is a narrative of standardization. Because any public body or corporation could only act with statutory permission, groups wishing to build a canal or drain a nuisance pit had to apply to Parliament for a local act, which applied only to that project. Because local acts were expensive for localities and time consuming for Parliament (they accounted for 55 percent of parliamentary acts in the nineteenth century), in the 1820s legislators invented permissive acts, which made an existing local act adoptable by other localities. As permissive acts proliferated, they gave rise to competing jurisdictions. Public general acts (national acts applying to any part of the United Kingdom), like the numerous Public Health Acts passed between 1848 and 1875, standardized and streamlined the permissive acts. The late-century Local Government Acts were the culmination of this process of standardization (Prest, Liberty and Locality, 1–7).

35. Following Charles Knight's death in 1873, his company focused primarily on government publications, the bulk of which included guides, handbooks, and manuals for local government (Anderson, "Charles Knight and Company," 169). Both Hadden & Best and Shaw & Sons also specialized in local government handbooks as well as official stationary and voting materials. S. Edgecumbe-Rogers was the official printer for the 1888 Local Government Act as well as the Departmental Decisions of the Local Government Board from 1905 to 1929. Such diversification was, according [End Page 37] to Watkins, a common practice among class periodical publishers; books, guides, calendars, and forms helped augment profits from subscriptions and advertisements (Watkins, "Edwin William Cox," 89).

36. In November 1834, Knight convinced the newly created Poor Law Commission to adopt his model of publishing cheap Poor Law circulars and reports, thereby extending the "principle of cheapness" to the then-burgeoning local state (Knight, Passages of a Working Life, 245). Knight's cheap-print model garnered his firm the position of Publisher by Authority of the Poor Law Commission—a tenure it held for over thirty years (Gray, Charles Knight, 57, 121). In 1839, shortly after this appointment, Knight launched his first local government periodical, the Unions' and Parish Officers' Yearbook (1839–73), followed by the Local Government Directory two years later.

37. Before 1888, however, annuals accounted for 37 percent of titles. After 1888, their market share declined, largely because local government reforms, in drawing new constituencies into the local government fold, drove up demand for more timely news and active debate. When local government periodicals peaked in 1909 with fifty-nine extant titles, only 17 percent were annuals, the bulk of which were long-running directories from publishers like Knight and Co.

39. Ibid.

40. Many local government periodicals were produced in major publishing centers such as Dublin, Edinburgh, and London. However, the business of local governance took place everywhere. Hence, local government periodicals emanated from a range of provincial sites: e.g., Warrington, an industrial center; Folkestone, a shipping hub; and Taunton, a county seat. Such geographical diversity presented acute problems when I was creating a list of local government periodicals. As Paul Fyfe recently explained, the archiving of periodicals since the early nineteenth century has been marked by metropolitan biases and accidents of war. During the nineteenth century, accessioning policies at the British Museum favored the metropolitan press, as the British Museum either redistributed provincial papers to non-existing local bodies or disposed of them entirely (Fyfe, "Archaeology," 557). Of the provincial titles collected at the British Museum, 40 percent were adversely affected by an incendiary bomb during World War II (556). And while Victorian-era press directories helped me augment the limitations of such metropolitan archives, they, too, were organized in a way that reflected a London-centric bias, which, as Laurel Brake argues, created a binary opposition between metropolitan and provincial presses that "has dominated our understanding of the nineteenth-century press for 150 years" ("Nineteenth-Century Newspaper Press Directories," 577).

41. Jones, "Local Journalism," 65. For the mid-Victorian local press's public spheres, see Vernon, Politics and the People, 146. [End Page 38]

43. London local government periodicals challenge Lester's claim that because of the "frequently changing and hugely complicated overlapping network of parliamentary boundaries, poor law unions, local health boards, the London County Council, parish councils, … no-one has written about all the levels at once because the task would be too huge" ("Local Newspapers," 55). While this is true of both London's local newspapers and historians of its local government, local government periodicals attempted to transform this warren of local authorities and rules into a cohesive system overseen by the London County Council. They were well known for such efforts, as is shown in an Academy review lauding Richard Donald, editor of the then London-centric Municipal Year Book: "A London fog of exceptions clings to every rule. If Mr. Donald does not quite banish the fog he makes it vastly more transparent" (Review of Municipal Year Book, April 24, 1897, 447).

45. "Reminiscences of Alderman Doublechin" appeared in the Sunderland Citizen from June to November 1897, and "Roger Stokoe, a Wearside Romance" was published in the Sunderland Citizen from November to December 1898.

46. "We," 1. Editor Arthur Bennett named the Dawn after the "brave little paper … of radiant radicalism" in Richard Le Gallienne's The Romance of Zion Chapel (1898) ("We," 1). Under Bennett's guidance, the Dawn attempted to promote local government participation through Gallienne's style of aestheticism, with each issue featuring an art nouveau cover by Warrington native Wilmot Lunt (1856–1939) along with locally written poems, short stories, and a serial novel.

47. Chapman's novel, which appeared serially in the Dawn from January to August 1906, was part of a broader effort to promote women's participation in local government. The local government periodical the Villager opened its July 1895 issue with a ten-page first-person account of unemployment's effects on women, "Experiences of a Laborer's Wife." Beginning in 1894, the Parish Councillor ran a women's column, "The House Wife," edited by "English Rose." Installments like "Women as Parish Councillors" advocated for an expanded role for women in local government. Bolstering this column, the Parish Councillor also included articles like "Women in Public Life: Some Expressions of Opinion," a collection of quotes from public figures supporting women's expanded participation in local government. The County Council Times offered serial coverage of Lady Sandhurst's failed legal attempt to defend her election to the 1889 London County Council ("Ladies as County Councillors"). It also regularly printed reports from the Society for Promoting the Return of Women as County Councilors. [End Page 39]

48. See James, "Now Inhale the Gas," and Olsen, Juvenile Nation. In "Uncle Toby's Legacy," Milton also addresses participatory forms in the provincial press.

51. Ibid.

55. Ibid., 8, 22, 9.

56. Images of slumbering municipalities and awakened citizenry were common in the Sunderland Citizen. See especially "Is Sunderland Asleep?"

59. Ibid.

65. Wareham, "Most Profitable Way to Cultivate Two Acres," and Hickman, "Best Method." Hickman establishes his authority by claiming to have "cultivated an allotment of 60 poles for some years" (1). The relative small size of his parish allotment suggests Hickman's subordinate position within the Berkshire agricultural economy.

67. Ibid.

69. Education fell within the remit of local government after the 1902 Education Act.

71. Ibid., 9.

74. A staple of the local press, official advertisements were, by and large, legal notices such as workhouse tenders and announcements of public meetings (Brown, Victorian News, 18). While official advertisements in the local press and local government periodicals had circumscribed distributions, those in nationally circulated local government periodicals were distributed throughout the United Kingdom. With wider distribution, official advertisements morphed. Most sought tender for the construction of infrastructure [End Page 40] or for supplies of key resources like coal or iron scrap. Others offered employment in the various ranks of local government, ranging from positions as town clerks and keepers of town halls to jobs as road inspectors and chief inspectors of weights and measures ("Appointments," 11; "Vacancies," 321).

76. This is based on the digitized runs of the Poor Law and Local Government Magazine (1892, 1896) and the County and Municipal Record (1903, 1905).

77. "County Council Times," June 6, 1890, 407. A further indication that the County Council Times had a national circulation is that it often excerpted reviews from provincial papers such as the Leeds Mercury, Liverpool Courier, and New Castle Chronicle ("Ourselves," February 23, 1889, 23; "Ourselves," March 16, 1889, 83).

80. Vine rose to prominence amongst local government officials on the strength of his English Municipal Institutions; Their Growth and Development from 1835–1879 (1879) and The English Municipal Code (1882). Baker penned legal guidebooks on topics as varied as divorces, wills, and tenant-landlord relations before focusing on local government law. His handbook, The Local Government Act, 1888, with Notes and Index, was published in several editions during the 1890s.

83. Header, 5. Practical guidance was a major refrain throughout advertisements for and reviews of nationally distributed local government periodicals. In a full-page advertisement in the 1891 Willing's Press Guide, the County Council Gazette (1889–1936) vaunted its "valuable hints … to all those engaged in local government matters" (Review of the County Council Gazette, 299). The Review of Reviews praised the Parish Councils Journal (1895–1909) for "containing a good deal of information which is invaluable to members of Parish Councils who wish to keep themselves informed both as to what they may do and as to what other parishes have already done" (Review of Parish Councils Journal, 255). The Labour Annual proclaimed the Councillor and Guardian's "Council News" and "Poor Law Notes" to be "indispensable parts of the equipment of every man and woman who takes an interest in Local Government administration" (Review of the Councillor and Guardian, 173).

85. See, for example, his article "Adulteration of Food." Findlay also authored The Phase Rule and Its Applications (1904) and Osmotic Pressure (1913), [End Page 41] the first in his Longman series, Monographs on Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, which included works by famed popular science writers like Frederick Soddy.

86. See Jones, "London Sewage" and "Sewage Farming." Jones published over a dozen letters to the editor of the Times between 1875 and 1912, almost all of them pertaining to sewage treatment and directed at local government officials. Jones's lifelong effort to use the periodical press to shape local government sanitary practices began at Staff College, Farnborough, from which he penned the letter "Town Sewage Question."

87. Herbert-Smith, "Establishment of Licensing Boards." Herbert-Smith often advocated for these solutions. A speech given at the Women's Total Abstinence Union in May of 1897 put forward many of these same points ("Women's Total Abstinence Union").

88. See Dorington, "Work of County Councils" and "Standing Joint Committees." Queen Victoria granted Dorington a baronetcy for Lypiatt Park, Stroud, in 1886, largely for his work in Gloucestershire's local government. He was also an active member of the National Conservative League and was appointed to the Privy Council under Lord Salisbury's Government in 1902.

89. Johnson, "Main Roads." Like Dorington, Johnson held numerous important local government positions, which made him an invaluable contributor to the County Council Magazine. This included serving as board member of the South Essex Licensing Committee and chairman of the Essex Quarter Sessions.

94. Advertisements for Ryde and Thomas's guide appeared on the front page of the County Council Times throughout 1889. It also received its own review in the February 16, 1889 edition, a break from the County Council Times's protocol of publishing omnibus book reviews.

95. Robin Hood's "Letters" included advice on parish rates (December 14, 1894), parish halls (December 21, 1894), and light rail (December 28, 1894).

97. This conflict dates back to Joseph Ritson's Robin Hood: A Collection of Ancient Poems, Songs, and Ballads (1795). During the late Victorian period, land nationalization and public footpath movements referenced Robin Hood in order to bolster claims for the people's right to land and free mobility. See "Rights of Way" and Torr, "Preservation of Footpaths."

100. Such local contributions were a well-known feature of local government periodicals, especially annual directories. For instance, the Economist lauded the 1912 Municipal Year Book for employing the "co-operation of the various local authorities," a practice through which "errors and omissions have consequently been reduced to a minimum" (Review of Municipal Review Book, 1352).

105. Ibid.


Advertisement for the Councillor and Guardian. In Willing's Press Guide, 364. London: James Willing, 1899.
Advertisement for the County Council Times. In Willing's Press Guide, 300. London: James Willing, 1891.
Advertisement for the Local Government Chronicle. In Willing's Press Guide, 295. London: James Willing, 1894.
Advertisement for the Parish Councillor. In The Newspaper Press Directory, 74. London: C. Mitchell, 1895.
Advertisement for the South-Eastern News and Literary Agency. In The Newspaper Press Directory. London: C. Mitchell, 1895.
Anderson, Patricia J. "Charles Knight and Company." In British Literary Publishing Houses, 1820–1880, edited by Patricia J. Anderson and Jonathan Rose, 164–70. Detroit: Gale, 1991.
"Appointments." Parish Councillor, December 14, 1894, 11.
Aslami, Zarena. The Dream Life of Citizens: Late Victorian Novels and the Fantasy of the State. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012.
Bennett, Arthur. "Introductory Sketch." In The Poems of Luke Hamilton Talbot, 1–41. Warrington: Sunrise, 1911.
Brake, Laurel. "Nineteenth-Century Newspaper Press Directories: The National Gallery of the British Press." Victorian Periodicals Review 48, no. 4 (2015): 569–90.
Brown, Lucy. Victorian News and Newspapers. Oxford: Clarendon, 1985.
Chandler, John H., and H. Dagnall. The Newspaper and Almanac Stamps of Great Britain and Ireland. Hempsted: Great Britain Philatelic Society, 1981.
"Choosing a Man to Act in Your Place." Sunderland Citizen, June 17, 1898, 7. [End Page 43]
"The County Council Times." County Council Times, February 16, 1889, 3.
"The County Council Times." County Council Times, June 6, 1890, 407.
Davidson, John Morrison. Politics for the People. London: William Reeves, 1902.
Digby, Anne. "The Local State." In The Agrarian History of England and Wales, Vol. VII, 1850–1914, edited by E. J. T. Collins, 1425–64. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Dorington, John E. "Standing Joint Committees." County Council Magazine, March 1889, 141–45.
———. "The Work of County Councils." County Council Magazine, March 1890, 99–107.
Eastwood, David. Government and Community in the English Provinces, 1700–1870. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.
English Rose. "Women as Parish Councillors." Parish Councillor, December 14, 1894, 9.
Escott, T. H. S. England: Its People, Polity, and Pursuits. London: Chapman and Hall, 1879.
"Experiences of a Laborer's Wife." Villager and Parish Council Adviser, July 1895, 1–10.
Findlay, Alexander B. "Adulteration of Food." County and Municipal Record, May 26, 1903, 167–69.
"For the Young Folks." Dawn, January 1901, 12–13.
Fraser, Derek. Power and Authority in the Victorian City. New York: St. Martin's, 1979.
Fraser, Nancy. "Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy." In The Phantom Public Sphere, edited by Bruce Robbins, 1–32. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.
Fyfe, Paul. "An Archeology of Victorian Newspapers." Victorian Periodicals Review 49, no. 4 (2016): 546–77.
Gray, Valerie. Charles Knight: Educator, Publisher, Writer. Burlington: Ashgate, 2006.
"Guides to Councillors." Parish Councillor, November 30, 1894, 9.
Hadley, Elaine. Living Liberalism: Practical Citizenship in Mid-Victorian Britain. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.
Hale, Ann M. "W. T. Stead and Participatory Reader Networks." Victorian Periodicals Review 48, no. 1 (2015): 15–41.
Hampton, Mark. "Liberalism, the Press, and the Construction of the Public Sphere: Theories of the Press in Britain, 1830–1914." Victorian Periodicals Review 37, no. 1 (2004): 72–92.
Harvie, Christopher. The Centre of Things: Political Fiction in Britain from Disraeli to the Present. London: Unwin Hyman, 1991.
Header. Yeoman, April 1894, 4–5.
Herbert-Smith, C. "The Establishment of Licensing Boards." County and Local Government Magazine, June 1890, 306–10. [End Page 44]
Hickman, G. "The Best Method of Cultivating an Allotment." Villager, May 1896, 1–3.
Hobbs, Andrew. "Five Million Poems, or the Local Press as Poetry Publisher, 1800–1900." Victorian Periodicals Review 45, no. 4 (2012): 488–92.
———. "When the Provincial Press Was the National Press (c.1836–c.1900)." International Journal of Regional and Local History 5, no. 1 (2009): 16–43.
Hobbs, Andrew, and Claire Janusewski. "How Local Newspapers Came to Dominate Victorian Poetry Publishing." Victorian Poetry 52, no. 1 (2014): 65–87.
Holdsworth, William A. The Local Government Act of 1888. London: Rout-ledge, 1888.
Hood, Robin. "Letters to Little John, Parish Councillor, No. 2—Allotments." Parish Councillor, December 7, 1894, 5.
———. "Letters to Little John, Parish Councillor, No. 3—Parish Rates." Parish Councillor, December 14, 1894, 5.
———. "Letters to Little John, Parish Councillor, No. 4—Parish Halls." Parish Councillor, December 21, 1894, 5.
———. "Letters to Little John, Parish Councillor, No. 5—Light Rails." Parish Councillor, December 28, 1894, 5.
"Is Sunderland Asleep?" Sunderland Citizen, October 27, 1897, 2.
Jackson, Alexander. "Football Coverage in the Papers of the Sheffield Telegraph,c. 1890–1915." International Journal of Regional and Local Studies 5, no. 1 (2009): 63–84.
James, Arthur. "Harold Wolfgang: A Novel." Dawn, January 1901: 2–3; January 1905: 3–6.
James, Louis. "'Now Inhale the Gas': Interactive Readership in Two Victorian Boys' Periodicals, 1855–1870." Victorian Periodicals Review 42, no. 1 (2009): 64–80.
Jenks, Edward. An Outline of English Local Government. London: Methuen, 1894.
Johnson, Andrew. "Main Roads." County Council Magazine, April 1889, 149–54.
Jones, Aled. "The Dart and the Damning of the Sylvan Stream: Journalism and Political Culture in the Late-Victorian City." In Encounters in the Victorian Press: Editors, Authors, Readers, edited by Laurel Brake and Julie F. Codell, 176–94. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
———. "Local Journalism in Victorian Political Culture." In Investigating Victorian Journalism, edited by Laurel Brake, Aled Jones, and Lionel Madden, 63–70. London: Macmillan, 1990.
———. Powers of the Press: Newspapers, Power and the Public in Nineteenth-Century England. Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1996.
Jones, Alfred S. "London Sewage." County Council Magazine, June 1889, 270–79.
———. "Sewage Farming." County Council Magazine, September 1889, 114–21. [End Page 45]
———. "Town Sewage Question." Leicester Chronicle, October 16, 1869, 8.
Joyce, Patrick. The State of Freedom: A Social History of the British State since 1800. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Knight, Charles. Passages of a Working Life during Half a Century. Vol. 2. London: Knight, 1873.
"Ladies as County Councillors." County Council Times, March 23, 1889, 87; April 20, 1889, 161; May 8, 1889, 201.
Law, Graham. "Imagined Local Communities: Three Victorian Newspaper Novelists." In Printing Places: Locations of Book Production and Distribution since 1500, edited by John Hinks and Catherine Armstrong, 185–203. London: Oak Knoll, 2005.
Lee, Alan J. The Origins of the Popular Press in England, 1855–1914. London: Croom Helm, 1976.
Lester, Mary. "Local Newspapers and the Shaping of Identity in North-East London, c. 1885–1925." International Journal of Regional and Local History 5, no. 1 (2009): 44–62.
"List! Ye Yeoman!" Yeoman, April 1894, 5.
Local Government Board. Annual Report of the Local Government Board, 1879–1880. London: Darling, 1881.
"The Management of Allotments." Villager and Parish Council Adviser, December 1895, 1.
Millward, Robert, and Robert Ward. "From Private to Public Ownership of Gas Undertakings in England and Wales, 1851–1947: Chronology, Incidence and Causes." Business History 35, no. 3 (1993): 1–21.
Milton, Frederick. "Uncle Toby's Legacy: Children's Columns in the Provincial Newspaper Press, 1873–1914." International Journal of Regional and Local Studies 5, no. 1 (2009): 104–20.
"Municipal Year Book, 1901." In The Municipal Year Book, 1–2. London: Edward Lloyd, 1901.
"Next Parish Council Elections." Villager, January 1896, 3–4.
Olsen, Stephanie. Juvenile Nation: Youth, Emotions, and the Making of the Modern British Citizen, 1889–1914. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.
"Our Policy." County and Municipal Record, April 7, 1903, 8–9.
"Ourselves." County Council Times, February 23, 1889, 23.
"Ourselves." County Council Times, March 16, 1889, 83.
Phillips, Robert. "County Surveyors." County Council Magazine, July 1889, 364–69.
Poovey, Mary. Making a Social Body: British Cultural Formation, 1830–1864. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
"Press of the Trades." All the Year Round, December 1, 1877, 389.
Prest, John. Liberty and Locality: Parliament, Permissive Legislation, and Rate-payers' Democracies in the Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990.
"Prize Competitions." Yeoman, November 1894, 7. [End Page 46]
"Prize Letters on Allotments." Villager, March 1896, 1.
Review of the Councillor and Guardian. Labour Annual, 1899, 173.
Review of the County Council Gazette, The Birmingham Hardware Trade Journal. Reprinted in Willing's Press Guide, 299. London: Willing's, 1891.
Review of Municipal Review Book. Economist, May 31, 1913, 1352.
Review of the Municipal Year Book. Academy, April 24, 1897, 447.
Review of the Parish Councils Journal. Review of Reviews, March 1896, 255.
"Rights of Way." Land and Labour, November 1891, 2.
Talbot, Luke. "In Babylon." Dawn, April 1901, 37.
———. "Land of 'Manana.'" Dawn, December 1906, 133.
"To Our Readers." County Council Times, February 23, 1889, 23.
"To Our Readers." Parish Councillor, November 30, 1894, 1–2.
Torr, James. "Preservation of Footpaths." County Council Magazine, July 1889, 227–31.
"The Trade Journal Indispensable." British Printer, January and February 1893, 59.
"Trade Journals." London, Provincial, and Colonial Press News, February 1878, 22.
"Trade Newspapers." Chambers's Journal, December 12, 1863, 371.
Turner, Mark W. "Sell's Dictionary of the World Press: Chronicler and Promoter of the Media Industry." Victorian Periodicals Review 48, no. 4 (2015): 607–24.
Tusan, Michelle Elizabeth. Women Making News: Gender and Journalism in Modern Britain. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005.
"Vacancies." County Council Times, May 9, 1890, 321.
Vernon, James. Politics and the People: A Study in English Political Culture, c 1815–1867. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Walker, Andrew. "Reporting Play: The Local Newspaper and Sports Journalism, c. 1870–1914." Journalism Studies 7, no. 3 (2006): 452–62.
Wareham, Frederick. "The Most Profitable Way to Cultivate Two Acres of an Allotment." Villager, April, 1896, 1–4.
Watkins, Charlotte C. "Edwin William Cox and the Rise of 'Class Journalism.'" Victorian Periodicals Review 15, no. 3 (1982): 87–93.
"We." Dawn, January 1901, 1–2.
"Women in Public Life: Some Expressions of Opinion." Parish Councillor, November 30, 1894, 9.
"Women's Total Abstinence Union." Times, May 17, 1897, 6. [End Page 47]

Additional Information

Print ISSN
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.