In 1835 the Municipal Reform Act was passed by Parliament. As a result 178 boroughs were granted permission to allow the townspeople to have their own councils. The 1835 Act stated that:
(a) all ratepayers should have a vote in council elections;
(b) each town was to be dived into wards, with councillors being elected for each ward;
(c) the elected councillors were to chose aldermen who would form one-quarter of the council;
(d) the council was to elect a mayor;
(e) the council might, if it wished, take over such matters as the water supply;
(f) the council had to take responsibility for the local police force. Over the next thirty years other boroughs were given permission to have elected town councils and gradually these bodies took over the control of local services such as street lighting, housing and education.