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(in Scotland, county of cities), one of the basic units of the administrative-territorial system of Great Britain. Although county boroughs are, as a rule, large populated areas, they may vary in area and population. Thus, the population of Birmingham, which is the largest county borough, was more than 1.5 million in 1970, and Canterbury’s population was about 33,000. Since 1958 the status of county borough may be conferred by Parliament only on cities whose population is at least 100,000.
Administratively, county boroughs are separate from the territories of counties and are directly controlled by the government. County boroughs are administered by municipal councils, which are composed of elected councillors and aldermen who are co-opted by the council. There are one-third as many aldermen as councillors. The councils form various commissions (12–35) and departments (20–30) and elect mayors and lord mayors (provosts and lord provosts in Scotland). The municipal councils of county boroughs have broader powers than the municipal bodies of other administrative units. In addition to the functions of the councils of ordinary cities, they perform some functions of the municipal bodies of counties. In England and Wales in 1969 there were 83 county boroughs, including 62 with populations greater than 200,000. In Scotland there were four county boroughs in 1969 and in Northern Ireland, two.
G. V. VARABASHEV