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Urban district (Great Britain and Ireland)

Urban district
Category Local government district
Location England and Wales and Ireland
Found in Administrative county
Created by Local Government Act 1894
Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898
Created 1894
Abolished by Local Government (Boundaries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971
Local Government Act 1972
Local Government Act 2001
Abolished 1973
Government Urban district council

In England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland, an urban district was a type of local government district that covered an urbanised area. Urban districts had an elected Urban District Council (UDC), which shared local government responsibilities with a county council.

England and Wales

English County Boroughs 1974.

In [1]

They replaced the earlier system of Urban and Rural [1]

Urban districts usually covered smaller towns, usually with populations of less than 30,000. Originally there were 1013 urban districts. Under the [1] Larger towns became municipal boroughs (already created, in 1835 under the Municipal Reform Act 1835) which had a slightly higher status, and the right to appoint a mayor.

All urban districts in England and Wales were abolished in 1974, (by the Local Government Act 1972) and replaced with a uniform system of larger districts, which usually covered both urban and rural areas. Many parish councils were created for towns previously covered by urban districts.

See also:Urban districts formed in England and Wales 1894–95 and Urban districts formed in England and Wales 1896–1974. List of rural and urban districts in England in 1973 and List of rural and urban districts in Wales in 1973 for lists of the remaining urban districts that were abolished in 1974.


In Ireland urban districts were created in 1898 by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 based on the urban sanitary districts created in 1878 and the suburban townships adjacent to Dublin city. Urban districts had powers greater than towns with town commissioners but less than the municipal boroughs preserved by the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Act 1840 or created subsequently. A few places were promoted or demoted between these three categories in subsequent decades.

After the partition of Ireland in 1920–22 urban districts continued in both the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland) and Northern Ireland. The rural and urban districts in Northern Ireland were abolished in 1973, and replaced with a system of unitary districts. In the Republic, while rural districts were abolished in 1925 and 1930,[3][4] urban districts continued to exist but were renamed simply 'towns' under the Local Government Act 2001.


  1. ^ a b c
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Local Government Act, 1925, Section 3".  
  4. ^ "Local Government (Dublin) Act, 1930, Section 82".  
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