Civic culture, policy-making and municipalization in Nottingham, 1870 to 1900

Smith, D.C., 2004. Civic culture, policy-making and municipalization in Nottingham, 1870 to 1900. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This study examines the civic culture and policy-making processes within Nottingham Corporation between 1870 and 1900. It identifies and evaluates the distinctive and exceptional characteristics of that municipal culture. The analysis is based principally upon a case study of the policy processes of municipalization and the practice of municipal trading. Nottingham's experience is located in the context of the findings of other municipal authorities.

The approach taken in this study is unusual in a number of ways. Firstly, the focus is upon municipalization and municipal trading as a means of understanding civic culture, rather than housing or public health, which have been used more typically in analyses of the operation of late Victorian municipal government. Secondly, within that policy area of trading, the main emphasis is on the relationships of politicians and officers in making policy for the four utilities, instead of more narrowly on the economic performance and profitability of particular utilities. Thirdly, prominence is given to the detailed contributions of the Town Clerk and specialist engineers to municipal life, rather than leaving them on the margins of formal political activity. This examination of the dynamics of the political culture of a singular municipal corporation helps to provide insights into the operation of authorities more generally, especially that group of boroughs which grew from medium-sized towns to large municipalities in the later part of the nineteenth century.

The distinctiveness of the operation of municipal government in Nottingham, as in other corporations, was influenced, at least in part, by the traditions of the Borough, the values, norms and meanings of civic life and the town's particular socio-economic framework. Some of the individual features of municipal practice in the town were not uncommon, and could be found in the political processes of other boroughs. However, a particular combination of characteristics in the policy-making processes of the Corporation made the political culture of Nottingham, between 1870 and 1900, exceptional. That exceptionalism was based upon the specific relationships that were developed between the Liberal and Conservative politicians and their senior officials in policy formation, decision-taking and policy implementation. It was the nature of the political chemistry of partisanship, non-partisanship and civicness in the political discourse of the Council, together with the professionalism and rational knowledge of the Town Clerk and engineers, which provided the foundations of Nottingham's particular civic culture. The politicians' pursuit of the principles of municipal capitalism and the practice of municipal trading were fundamental to the political and financial strategy of the Council.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Smith, D.C.
Date: 2004
ISBN: 9781369312751
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 26 Aug 2020 10:46
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2023 08:56

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