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Ambition, Influence and Status in a Small Borough: Local Government in Aberavon 1830 – 1921 / JACQUELINE RADFORD

Swansea University Author: JACQUELINE RADFORD

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DOI (Published version): 10.23889/SUthesis.60279

Abstract

This thesis examines the urban and municipal development of the small coastal town and incorporated borough of Aberavon between 1830 and 1921. Aberavon’s importance to the study of urban history lies in its transition from ancient to incorporated borough in 1861 and subsequent sublimation into a new...

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Published: Swansea 2022
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
Supervisor: Miskell, Louise ; Johnes, Martin
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa60279
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Abstract: This thesis examines the urban and municipal development of the small coastal town and incorporated borough of Aberavon between 1830 and 1921. Aberavon’s importance to the study of urban history lies in its transition from ancient to incorporated borough in 1861 and subsequent sublimation into a new Borough of Port Talbot in 1921. The research assesses how local and national factors affected outcomes in Aberavon and culminated in submission of a borough extension which surrendered the ancient name. Contributions and characteristics of individuals and groups are assessed throughout, particularly those of the corporation members, councillors, salaried officials, landowners and industrialists whose decisions impacted upon the future status of the borough. Industrialisation and urban development provide important historical context throughout the thesis and in the later years of the study period it is apparent that the ambitions of the local Labour party played a significant role in encouraging moves towards amalgamation. An extensive historiography offers examples of municipal development which compare and contrast with that of Aberavon but Welsh studies are limited. The broader historiography reveals that a weakening of local identity due to inward migration influenced attitudes to both incorporation and amalgamation, a phenomenon which was also evident in Aberavon. The impact of central government reforms and interventions from 1835 to 1919 is shown to be a motivating factor in expanding local government ambitions and boundaries, bringing into question the value of incorporation as either an ultimate objective or an enduring status. Contemporary sources including correspondence, Acts of Parliament, newspapers, census material and minute books are employed to examine how industrialisation and urban growth influenced municipal ambitions in and around Aberavon. The thesis contributes to studies of municipal history by providing a new Welsh perspective which gives wider relevance to urban history research in this period.
Item Description: A selection of third party content is redacted or is partially redacted from this thesis due to copyright restrictions.
Keywords: Local Government, Incorporation, Amalgamation
College: College of Arts and Humanities