This book analyses the process of reform that led to the formation of the London County Council; the forces that shaped it; and the role played by local and national politicians in its establishment. In the middle of the nineteenth century London was the world's largest city, and the Victorians were the first to face a task which has become familiar to other generations and other advanced societies - how to provide for its government. The divergent political and material interests within a metropolis have to be reconciled; where previously separate communities are joined together by the spread of the city, traditional local rivalries are likely to be deepened by the growing differentiation of rich and poor areas, and to take political shape. This fascinating account of the economic, social, and administrative complexities of Victorian London will appeal to all those interested in the intractable 'metropolitan problem.'.