1910s Council Minutes


The Council continued to be concerned mainly with the Fire Brigade, street lighting, footpaths and the market. The Coronation fountain in Cow Square was taken into the Council’s care after its debts had been settled. The Earl of Ilchester handed the Market Cross into Council care, because he could not afford to repair it, but no restoration was possible until after the end of the Great War.


E W Valentine, who had been on the Council since 1864 and chairman since 1869, died in 1916 and was succeeded by T G Coggan, who remained in office until 1940.


The Parliament Act of 1916 led to a new and longer list of electors who first cast their votes in the elections of 1919.


There is little mention of the War until late 1916 when food shortages led to inspections of gardens and allotments to ensure all available land was in useful cultivation. Seed potatoes were provided by the County Agricultural Committee. A bounty paid for sparrows’ heads and rats’ tails to reduce pest damage to crops. Gas street lighting was reduced during the war and there are mentions of the shortage of man power. Some German prisoners were employed to help bring in the harvest in 1918.


Some social legislation began to affect the town - a survey of the need for working class housing was undertaken in 1918 and adult education classes were provided, but the subjects offered are not specified. The County Education Committee asked about school playing fields and recreation grounds, but Somerton had neither at that date.