Galway Urban District Council, Minute Books of
Reference code: LA4
Title: Galway Urban District Council, Minute Books of
Date(s): 1899-1922
Extent: 4 Volumes
Location: National University of Ireland, Galway
Biographical History
Galway Urban District Council was set-up after the 1898 Local Government Act, it replaced the Board of the Galway Town Commissioners. As an 'Urban District Council' rather than a 'Corporation' the body was subordinate to Galway County Council, in administrative terms this put Galway City on the same level as towns such as Athlone and Clonmel. Galway Urban District council was responsible for the upkeep of Galway’s roads, street lighting and the collection of tolls. Unlike it predecessor body the Galway Town Commissioners it was also responsible for the provision of 'social housing'. During the period covered by this collection a number of housing schemes in Galway city were undertaken by the Urban District Council, including the construction of 'working class' homes in Henry Street. The period covered by this collection also saw the replacement of the tram service to Salthill with a bus service. The minute books of the Galway Urban District Council also include a number of references to political events of the time including The First World War, The Conscription Crisis and the War of Independence. A resolution passed on 17 June 1920 explicitly stated that the Urban District Council recognised "the authority of Dail Eireann as the duly elected Government of the Irish people".
Immediate Source of Acquisition or Transfer
This collection was deposited at University College Galway Library by the Town Clerk of Galway Urban District Council on 9 September 1937.
Scope and Content
Three of the four volumes contain minutes giving the date of meetings, attendance, correspondence and business transacted. The first volume also contains the minutes of the Galway Town Commissioners for the period 6 November 1890 - 31 December 1898, although this is one physical item it can be considered as two items for the purposes of description and arrangement. One of the items in this collection LA4/4 is a letter book which contains copies of correspondence and other items such as reports and for the period 4 May 1922 - 20 December 1922 it includes the copies of the minutes of council meetings. There are no minutes for the period 12 October 1912 - 16 December 1916, however there are some copies of letters for this period. The volumes in this collection are in good physical condition.
System of arrangement
The minute books are arranged in chronological order, the letter book has been arranged after the minute books because the the section of the letter book which includes copies of minutes comes after the last minute book chronologically.
Conditions governing access
The material in this collection is available to all bone fide researchers and subject to the conditions of access governing the consultation of archival material at the James Hardiman Library. No material may be reproduced from this collection without the written permission of the archivist and reproductions are subject to the conditions of access. The most appropriate form of reference is title of item: date of item: reference number (LA4/?), James Hardiman Archives, NUI, Galway. For a full statement of the conditions of access please see:
Finding aids
Descriptive List
Return to List of Deposited Collections

LA4/1 Scope and Content:Bound volume containing drafts of the minutes for meetings of the Galway Urban District Council. The minute book is a custom printed book which includes structured folios with headings for each meeting. Includes A-Z index. Each folio contains the following printed headings 'Minutes of Proceedings of the Galway Town Improvement Commissioners at their Monthly Meeting held on Thursday...', 'Present' , 'No.1 Account', 'No.2 Account', 'Reports of Committees read and disposed of as follows, namely:-' , 'The following Special Business came before the Meeting'. In many instances extra pages are attached which contain more information relating to Special Business, in some instances printed material from newspapers is also attached to the minute book. Meetings were usually held on the first Thursday of every month, extra meetings were held periodically. This volume is used both for the minutes of the Galway Town Commissioners and the Galway Urban District Council, Galway Urban District Council took over the functions of the Town Commissioners following the Local Government (Ireland) Act which was passed in 1898. Although this volume may be regarded as one physical item for the purposes of arrangement and description it is treated as two items and a description of the relevant section is includes in the finding aid for the Galway Town Commissioners Collection (LA2). Entry dated 1 May 1899 includes a report from The Galway Urban District Council Roads and Streets Committee, the report details suggested improvements to the procedures for maintaining and repairing roads in the urban district. Entry dated 1 February 1890 includes a report from the Finance Committee regarding the Town Clerk's salary. According to the report the Town Clerk for Galway received a salary of £100 a year, which was significantly less than the salary of Town Clerks in other towns. For example the Town Clerk for Clonmel received an annual salary of £335, while the Town Clerk for Athlone received a salary of £210. The committee suggested that the Town Clerk's salary be increased to £200. According to entry dated 1 November 1900 it was proposed that the Urban District Council should purchase a road roller from Messers. Aveling and Porter for a price of £420. Entry dated 2 May 1901 includes a resolution rejecting a proposal from the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, Upper Merrion St, Dublin for Galway Technical Institute to be managed by Galway County Council. Entry for 12 December 1901 includes a resolution which states that 'considering the intolerable bigotry towards our board recently manifested by our local would-be Unionist organ we hereby forbid the appearance of the Propr. Or any representative of the paper at any of our Board Meetings....' According to entry dated 6 March 1902 it was proposed that the Midland Rail Company should 'construct their own locomotive wagons and carriages instead of having them built else where, the Galway Urban Council desire to draw the attention of the company to their premises at Newcastle here which includes the old distillery buildings, as a most desirable place for the construction of these workshops.' Entry dated 7 May 1903 includes an acknowledgement of a letter from C.R. Devlin M.P. in referemce to a resolution passed by the Urban District Council in relation to the number of ruins in the city 'which the owners refuse to sell and will take no steps towards placing them in a fit condition. He had asked a question in the House of Commons in reference to this and was informed that the remedy for this was provided by the Working Classes Act of 1890.' Entry for 7 January 1904 includes an enclosure detailing the duties of the following officers: 'Borough Surveyor', 'Town Steward', 'Superintendent of Waterworks'. According to entry dated 3 January 1907 it was resolved that the Urban District Council should 'press the claims of Galway as a port of embarkation with regard to the Canadian Mail Service.' According to minute dated 6 June 1907 attention was drawn to the fact that 'the Cruise of the Atlantic Fleet around the Irish Coast and the fact that Galway was omitted from the list.' Entry for the 25th December 1907 includes an enclosure consisting of a 'Notice of Result of Election'for Galway Urban District Council. The poster lists the names of candidates, their 'Place of Abode', the number of votes they received and also lists the names of candidates successfully elected for each electoral division.
Date:1 January 1899 -1 April 1909 Extent:125 ff

LA4/2 Scope and Content:Bound volume containing drafts of the minutes for meetings of the Galway Urban District Council. Includes A-Z index, paginated pp1-498, Each page in the volume includes a printed margin and page number, from the entry dated 4 November 1909 onwards the subject for each minute is written in red in the margin, examples from the minutes for 4 November 1909 include 'Vet. Inspector's Order', 'Town Stewert', 'Carts for Streets'and 'Road Roller'. Meeting were held weekly, the minutes contain details of attendance, maters arising, reports from committees and some correspondence. Entry dated 3 June 1909 draws attention to 'the seats maliciously broken at Salthill, also to issue a notice offering £1 reward for information with reference to persons found damaging the seats.' According to entry dated 29 July 1909 'The Secretary brought under the notice of the Council the advisability of advertizing Galway as a health resort and publishing a guide to Galway.' Entry dated 19 August 1909 states that 'A letter was read from Dr. J.M. McDonough on the subject of premises in Kirwan's Lane stating that the premises were not fit for human habitation. Entry for 26 October includes reports of the Building Committee and the Waterworks Committee. According to entry dated 25 November 1909 'A letter was read from The National Telephone Co. with regards to the proposed telephone service to Waterworks and Bowling Green and College Road offering to make the connection at £12. According to the minutes of a meeting of the Building Committee dated 18 Jan 1910, in reference to the size of proposed labourers cottages for Galway, the committee recommended 'that the size of the kitchen in the proposed houses be increased from two to three feet.' Entry for 12 May 1910 reports a proposal on the occasion of the death of Edward VII 'that the meeting stand adjourned as a mark of respect to the memory of his majesty Kind Edward VII whose wise and prudent rule endeared him to all his Irish subjects....'Entry dated 2 June 1910 states that in relation to the Cinematograph Act 1909 a resolution was adopted appointing an officer to 'grant, suspend or determine licenses under the act....' According to entry for 22 September 1910 it was proposed 'that we the Galway Urban District Council renew our application to the Galway County Council to apply for a loan in our behalf of £500 for the purpose of erecting a pier at Salthill....' According to entry dated 23 February 1911 'A letter was read from W.R.F. Mullery enclosing copy of a communication from the Union Medical Officer stating that three cases of Beri-beri were admitted to the fever hospital.' According to entry dated 9 March 1911 'A discussion took place with regard to the use of Irish materials in the building of cottages required by the Council and the Engineer was directed to add to the specifications that preference would be given to the contractor guaranteeing to supply Irish manufacture.'According to entry dated 17 August 1911 sanction was given from the Local Government Board for 'loans of £6520 for erecting 40 Labourers Cottages at Henry Street and Kelly's Lane.' Entry dated 16 November 1911 reports that 'the premises of P. Duggan at Claddagh were in a filthy condition and sewers were choked near his house. Orders to serve necessary notices and prosecute if nuisances not abated, it was also ordered that the attention of the police be called to pigs being allowed to wander about Claddagh.' Entry for 4 March 1912 includes a report from an unnamed committee which states that 'a Guide to the District to be the most advisable and suitable to the needs of this locality, and we recommend that a subsidy of £20 be given by the council for the issue of the Guide and 5,000 copies of the book be given free to the Council for distribution...[and] that it may be published in time before the Summer Season sets in.
Date:6 May 1909 - 12 October 1912 Extent:c 1000 pp

LA4/3 Scope and Content:Bound volume minutes for meetings of the Galway Urban District Council. Each page has a margin, for some meetings the subject for each minute is written in red in the margin, details of attendance and some correspondence are also included. According to entry dated 30 March 1917 a letter was read from the Portrush Urban Council...asking the views of this council on the subject of a deputation to the Chief Secretary to urge the desirability of granting excursions and cheap booking this year to health resorts.' According to entry dated 12 August 1917 a resolution was passed stating 'that we the Galway Urban District Council respectfully, but firmly demand that of the English Home Secretary cannot see his way to grant the Countess de Markievicz the same concessions as the other Irish Prisoners, who received the same sentence he will, at least allow her a daily visit with an outside friend.' According to entry dated 3 May 1917 a resolution was passed calling 'the attention of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the Chief Secretary that the order with the object of prohibiting racing, if it applies to the Galway Races, will mean a loss of about £10,000 to the people of Galway, who are already very hard hit by the war, that it will be disastrous to hotels and other public places in Galway....' According to entry dated 7 June 1917 it was unanimously decided to ask the officers commanding at Renmore Barracks to allow the bands of their regiments to play at Eyre Square.' The entry dated 11 April 1918 includes the following resolution 'That we, the members of the Galway Urban District council enter our strongest protest against the passing of the Conscription Bill at present going through the House of Commons as unjustifiable and unwarranted and calculated to cause chaos and confusion in the country where Labour is not sufficient to attend to the needs of the increased tillage going on now.' According to minute dated 1 August 1918, Colonel Arthur Lynch M.P. addressed the meeting on behalf of the Irish Recruiting Council and explained the necessity of having voluntary recruiting carried out in order to obviate the necessity of conscription. According to a resolution passed at the meeting held on 31 October 1918 'Owing to the severe character of the present epidemic of influenza and owing to the wide distribution of the disease all over town amongst women children and adults we would strongly recommend that the Urban Council would use whatever authority it has to have all schools and places of amusement closed for the present.' According to entry dated 21 November 1919 the Government proposed voting a considerable sum of money under the heading of Reconstruction for the building of houses in urban areas and it was decided to bring this matter before the Council.'According to entry dated 30 January 1919 a letter was read from W.R.W. Machie stating that 'he had purchased the Galway Salthill Tramway Co. and proposed running motor busses to Salthill and he would be glad if arrangements could be come to for removal of rails and make good the road.' According to entry dated 6 February 1919 it was proposed 'that we the members of the Galway Urban District Council desire to draw attention of his Majesty's Government to the expediency of adopting proportional representation as the method of conducting municipal elections under the Local Government Act 1898 as we are of opinion it is the fairest method of carrying on these elections. According to entry dated 20 March 1919 Father Davis 'came before the council and pointed out the urgency of providing houses for the working classes in Claddagh...' According to entry dated 10 May 1919 'It was decided to present an address of Welcome to the Irish American Delegates to the peace conference at Paris who were to visit Galway Tomorrow and the address having been drawn up and read was approved of.' According to entry dated 5 June 1919 a 'report of Committee appointed to consider letter from the Local Government Board with reference to Housing Schemes stating they consider the design of houses suggested by the Local Government Board too elaborate for local requirements, and the proposal to have W.C.s inside they consider objectionable. According to entry dated 31 July 1919 'A letter was read from the Irish Unionist Anti-Partition League in reference to Housing Bill and the Council decided that they were in favor of the Scheme already adopted for housing in England and Scotland.'Entry for 17 January 1920 includes a cutting from the Galway Observer detailing the results of the local elections held on 17 January 1920. Entry dated 15 April 1920 states that 'this council desires to place on record our appreciation of the thoroughly efficient orderly and courageous manner in which the allied trades and labour bodies in Galway handled the very difficult and critical situation created by the national strike...that the special thanks of the citizens of Galway are due to the Irish Railway and Postal workers whose patriotic action, contributed so largely to the victory of right over might. That we congratulate the noble men who were prepared to suffer death rather than yield up their principles.' According to entry dated 6 May 1920 the following resolution was passed by the council, 'this council have just learned that the deaths of one hundred noble Irish Patriots are imminent in Wormwood Scrubs Prison and that some prisoners in Galway Jail are also in danger of death, beg to place on record our horror and detestation of the tyrannical English Government which has brought this new system of slow murder into existence after it has deprived the Irish people of all private as well as public liberty.' According to entry dated 3 June 1920 'Walter O'Flaherty submitted designs for houses to be built at Salthill and asked for a certificate under the Housing (Additional Powers) Act 1919. W. Sarsfield also submitted designs for a house at Wood Quay and asked for a certificate.' Entry for 17 June 1920 includes the following resolution "That this Council of the elected representatives of the Galway Urban District Council at a duly convened meeting hereby acknowledges the authority of Dail Eireann as the duly elected Government of the Irish people, and undertakes to give effect to all decrees duly promulgated by the said Dail Eireann in so far as same effects this Council. That copies of this Resolution be forwarded to the Republican Minister for Foreign Affairs for transmission to the Governments of Europe, and to the President and Chairman of the Senate and House of Representatives of the U.S.A. That 30 copies of this resolution be sealed with the Seal of the Council and handed to me for transmission to the proper quarters.'
Date:21 December 1916 - 15 June 1921 Extent:c. 1000 pp

LA4/4 Scope and Content:Letter Book for Galway Urban District Council, contains copies of correspondence and copies of other material relating to the Urban District Council, including reports from committees, statements of accounts and the minutes of council meetings. Many entries are not dated however they appear to be in chronological order. The volume is paginated pp1-994, only one side of each leaf is paginated. Page 5 includes a statement of loans for the Galway Harbour Commissioners. Page 68 contains a statement of rents received from houses on Bowling Green for the years 1904 and 1909. The amount borrowed for the housing scheme was £1060 for a term of 50 years. Page 424 contains a statement of outstanding loans for public health and other acts. Each entry contains the following fields 'purpose', 'amount of loan','date', 'no. of years', 'principal paid off.', 'principal outstanding'and 'rate of interest'. Entries include 'Claddagh Bridge'2000,1888... And Auxiliary Engine £900,1893'. Page 456 includes a plan to purchase Grattan's Estate in the Claddagh, according to the plan the estate had 80 houses built on it and goes on to say 'That number of houses required would be about 150. Which might be provided as follows: 100 houses £140 each - £14000, 50 houses £100 each £5000.' Pages 924-994 contain copies of typescript minutes of meetings of the Galway Urban District Council. According to entry dated 4 May 1922 on page 924 'A vigilance committee was appointed to draw up a report with regard to the supervision of certain literature which is being circulated in the district.' According to entry on page 928 'Mr. F. Flanerty asked if the action of parties who done damage at Eyre Square and removed the statue of Lord Dunkellin was to be permitted to go unpunished. Decided to consult the Council's solicitors and instruct them to take proceedings to have the parties punished.' According to entry dated 22 September 1922 which appears on page 955 'A letter was read from Dail Eireann, stating that the Minister for Local Government was of the opinion that sanction should have been obtained before expenditure had been incurred in connection with the purchase of the large hanger which is being erected at Salthill.' According to entry dated 5 October 1922 which appears on page 964 'It was decided to draw the attention of the Inspector, Civic Guard, to the number of shooting galleries which are allowed to do business at Eyre Square, and ask him, if possible, to effect the removal of these parties. Page 990 includes a report relating to electricity supplies in the city, the report relates to the construction of a power plant, the existing plant having been 'destroyed by fire about the 17th of March this year and is not yet entirely reconstructed.'
Date:31 March 1909 - 20 December 1922 Extent:c. 1000 pp