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Maintaining parish council records

Introduction

Parish councils and parish meetings were established under the Local Government Act of 1894.

They have been the basic units of civil administration and representation in rural areas since this date.

Parish councils have a wide range of responsibilities, which include parish halls, playing fields, allotments, charities, street lighting and burial grounds.

Their records can be very informative about both local issues and national events, including:

  • Coronation and jubilee celebrations
  • Council housing
  • Footpaths and rights of way
  • Village greens and commons
  • Planning applications
  • The Second World War

Some parish councils have also inherited older records, such as documents relating to parliamentary inclosure and poor relief.

This means that their records are an important source of information about life in rural areas, particularly over the past century or so.

This guide lists the types of records which parish councils may hold and gives guidance on which documents should be permanently preserved.

Please contact us at the Norfolk Record Office (NRO) if you would like any further advice.