King James I granted Tuam a Royal Charter on 30th March 1613, and the town was laid out as a market town to its present plan with all the streets converging on the central square. The Royal Charter enabled Tuam to send two representatives to parliament and allowed the town to set up a formal local authority, the forerunner of the present day Town Council with a sovereign and 12 burgesses elected.
In September 1843 a 21 man Town Commissions Board was elected under the Lighting of Towns Act 1828, thus took over from the Sovereign and twelve Burgess of the original charter. In 1843 following the election of members and Chairman, the Board agreed various bye-laws. At one of its early meetings various legal issues were queried and answered by legal consul regarding the status, duties and powers of Board, most particularly those of its Chairman, under the new legislation.
The Town Improvement Act of 1854 was adopted on 25 October 1855. The first meeting of the Board under this Act was held on 19 November 1855, with Mr Richard Kelly elected Chairman.
Under the Local Government Act 1898 the Town continued to be governed by the Town Commissioners until 2002 when their name changed to Town Council. Fifteen Councillors were elected following the 1899 election. James McDonnell was elected Chairman.
Due to the traditional reluctance to strike a rate, Tuam Town Commissioners provided the town with very few services. The streets were maintained by the County Council, the Board of Guardians provided health care and administered the workhouse, and the Rural District Council provided sanitary services. The County Council took over the street cleaning function in 1915.
In 1921 Eileen Costello (1870-1962) was elected the first female member of Tuam Town Commissioners and also served as first female chairman (1921-22).
Tuam Town Council, along with 79 other Councils, was abolished under Local Government Reform Act 2014 which came into effect in May 2014. Following the abolition of the councils, councillors represent Municipal Districts at County Council level.
Archival History ↴
Minutes 1843-1968 were transferred by the Tuam Town Commissioners in 2013. Further volumes, between 1969-2010 (with gaps) were transferred in mid 2014, following the dissolution of the Commissioners/ Town Council in April 2014.
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: Tuam Town Commissions / Council ↴
Bound volumes of minutes of Tuam Town Commissioner meetings, which were generally held in the Town Hall, initially held weekly, then from mid 1846 monthly, also includes minutes of quarterly, special and annual meetings. From 2006 also includes minutes of the Joint Policing Committee.
The minutes record attendance, correspondence, decisions and resolutions and details of business transacted relating to issues such as the provision of public lighting, management of the shambles (meat and fish markets), permissions for use of the Town Hall for various functions and events, such as concerts or auctions and by groups such as the Boys Scouts, setting dates for fairs and markets, collection of tolls, customs and rents, and orders to issue payments such as for paving, repairing water pumps and gas lighting, from the early twenty century the minutes also relate to the provision and maintenance of public housing, such as at McHale Terrace and Parkmore Terrance in the 1920s and in the mid-late 1930s the construction of over 160 houses in the Tubberjarlath Road Farranbox and Athenry Road areas of the town, also to the letting of houses and collection of rents, the provision of a fire engine and brigade in the late 1930s, and minor road and footpath maintenance.
The Commissioners also frequently passed resolutions expressing its views on local and national events and political developments.
From September 1933 (2nd ¼ of volume, TTC1/8) onwards the minutes are generally type-scripted and pasted into the volumes.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
Further accruals (up to 2014) expected
Conditions of Access & Use
Access by appointment.
Minutes from 1843 to 1968 are available are online at
Conditions Governing Reproduction
No material may be reproduced from this collection without the written permission of the archivist, and reproductions are subject to the conditions of access.