In 1801 the population of Amble was 152 living in a scattering of cottages and three farms. By 1861 Amble had 1,275 residents and in 1901, the town had grown to 4,428 due to the development of Warkworth Harbour, the expansion of mining and the opening of a railway serving Amble.
Public health was a concern in new towns like Victorian Amble. The lack of clean water and proper sanitation increased the risk of disease. This was also a time when new ways of governing towns and cities began.
The Amble Local Board of Health, given the job of looking after the town, was set up and first met on November 25 1878. Soon, it was replaced by Amble Urban District Council which first met on January 3rd 1895. Amble Urban District Council had 9 elected Councillors.
The Council provided a clean water supply for Amble, developed the Town Cemeteries and the first allotments in the town. It had paid officials including a Town Clerk and Dr. Smyth- the Medical Officer of Health. In the first year, two Amble schools were closed because of an outbreak of measles. New gas lamps were provided. The Council spent £1087.16 shillings and 3 pence in 1895 with most money spent on the “scavenging of the ash pits” – cleaning out privies (toilets) – most people did not have toilets, baths or running water.
In 1912 T.L. McAndrews, who was a member of the Amble Urban District Council for 40 years wrote in his book Amble and District: “The Amble of today is generally admitted to be a thoroughly efficient town in every way with a remarkably low death rate.”
Amble Urban District Council was abolished on April 1st 1974; the new Council became Amble Town Council, a Local Authority created by the Local Government Reorganisation Act of 1972.
The Council has 9 members who serve for a term of 4 years and who elect one of themselves each year to act as Chairman of Amble Town Council and Mayor of the town.
In April 2009 the New Council for Northumberland commenced; this joined together Northumberland County Council, Alnwick District, Berwick upon Tweed, Blyth Valley, Castle Morpeth, Tynedale and Wansbeck in one large Council. There are 5 Area Committees- Amble is in the North Area – where Town or Parish Councillors and other interested groups meet regularly using local knowledge to help them put forward ideas for their area to the Authority.
Amble Town Council employs 4 staff- 2 full time, 1 part time and 1 seasonal; is responsible for 2 Cemeteries, 2 War Memorials, 2 Allotment areas, a small Play area, Paddlers Park,a small Communal Garden, Town Seats, Litter and Dog Bins, Bus Shelters, Noticeboards and some Flower Displays. Members are consulted on all planning applications for the town and any policies or procedures, from external organisations, which could affect the area. They represent all the townspeople and take forward their concerns to the relevant organisations. Amble Town Council actively engages with groups within the community to further local ideas and interests.
Or ADMINISTRATION ASSISTANT- HELEN SHEPHERD