History of the Council
The ‘Borough of Todmorden’, came into being on 9 November 1896 under Royal Charter. Prior to this, in 1861, (under the Local Government Act of 1858) existed the Todmorden Local Board, the first local authority that had responsibility for the whole
of the Todmorden area.
Prior to this, there had been the three townships of Longfield, Stansfield and Todmorden and Walsden who each had a constable, an overseer of the poor, a surveyor of the highways and a churchwarden.
When it was established, the Borough of Todmorden had six wards: Todmorden, Central, Walsden, Langfield, Stansfield and Cornholme. At that time, there were eighteen elected Councillors (like today) and six aldermen, who were permanent
members of the Council, once established.
The first elected Mayor of Todmorden was Councillor Caleb Hoyle and the first Town Clerk was Mr Dan Sutcliffe. It was around this time that the robe, hat and white kid gloves (which are still used) were gifted for the Mayor and a wig and gown were
provided for the Town Clerk.
The responsibilities and involvement of the Borough Council were very wide ranging, including education, child welfare, policing, parks, sewage, highways, employment, the Town Hall, the Library and transport.
This expanded during the Second World War to include care for evacuees (from Bradford, Hove and Brighton), restaurants and the provision of meals for schoolchildren and workers.
An indicator of the impact of the work of the Council on wellbeing was that the numbers of children who died under the age of one year of age was 174 (for each 1000 births) in 1896 and 26 in 1944.
Local government was reformed under the Local Government Act of 1974, resulting in Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council (Calderdale MBC) being established on 1 st April 1974. Under the changes, Calderdale Metropolitan Council would now be
responsible for most of the functions previously carried out by Todmorden Borough Council
At the same time Todmorden was granted Town Council status and was able to retain its crest, civic regalia and silver. The role of Alderman disappeared and Council elections now took place every four years and continue to do so. Representation for the people of Todmorden and this part of the Upper Calder Valley was vested in three Councillors for each area on Calderdale MBC. The wards in
Todmorden were reorganised a few years later, reducing them to the current five, so that the electoral population could be more evenly spread.
One of the main functions of the new Town Council was that of consultation (by Calderdale MBC) about local planning applications. Another increasing function was that of lobbying various bodies to retain services in Todmorden. The Town Council
was now funded by the raising of a small levy (known as a precept) on the Council Tax raised by Calderdale MBC.
Moving to the present day, the Town Council still operates under the Local Government Act of 1974 whilst assuming the proud values of previously existing local government bodies in Todmorden.