Council records

Kresen Kernow is the local authority archive for Cornwall. Local government records cover many aspects of daily life, depending on what they have been responsible for at different times (such as poor relief, health and social services, highways and education). Local government responsibilities have changed depending on various acts of parliament, such as the 1888, 1893, 1958 and 1972 Local Government Acts.

Kresen Kernow holds the records for Cornwall County Council (1889-2009), 36 urban and rural district councils (and their related sanitary authorities and boards of health), 12 borough councils, including Lostwithiel (dating back to around 1194) and 137 parish and town councils (1894-2012). In 2009, local government reorganisation saw the merger of Cornwall County Council and the six Cornish District Councils to form one Cornish local authority, Cornwall Council.

Council records consist of many different types of documents, from minute books to accounts, correspondence and administrative papers. It might be worth exploring one of our other theme pages, such as Poverty and Health, or Schools, for more information as council records can contain a wealth of detail and information on social history.

Before the establishment of County Councils in 1889, much local administration was carried out through individual manors, parishes and the courts. Additional information can be found on particular theme pages, or please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a query. A date can be a good starting point, as most records are arranged chronologically.

Key search terms: borough, district, town, rural, highways, roads, footpath, education, planning, minutes, electoral register/roll

Key collections: CC (‘Cornwall County Council’ collection), CC/5 (highways), CC/HF (footpaths and rights of way), CC/13 (vehicle licensing), DC (District Council)

Recommended readsCornwall County Council 1889-1989: a history of 100 years of county government by AL Dennis, 1989