Dr. T.W. Rammell’s report to the Central Board of Health in 1853 paved the way for municipal reform.
Despite objections based largely on a fear of burdensome taxes, the Town Commissioners agreed to promote an Act of Parliament for the creation of a municipal borough.
A bill was eventually approved at a public meeting and became an Act on 3 July 1854.
A borough council of twelve was elected from a total of 88 candidates, out of a possible total of 261, by 178 voters. Four aldermen were appointed and John Ryall Mayo selected as the first Mayor. Symbolising the transfer of authority from Portreeve and Burgesses, Town, and Special Commissioners, Benjamin Ryall, the last of the portreeves to hold office, handed to the newly appointed Mayor the town mace and seal of the ancient corporation.
The borough bounds, of some 650 acres, were enclosed by Reckleford, Brunswick Street, Huish as far as Salthouse Lane and the Hendford brook. Subsequent extensions were made in 1903 to include 200 acres at Newtown and portions of the Pen Mill area, and in 1929 further additions brought the area administered to 2,256 acres.
It was not until 1871 that mains water became available in the town, and not until 1897 that an experimental sewage disposal plant appeared in Stars Lane, to be followed in 1903 by Pen Mill works. Meanwhile the first by-laws were drawn up in 1881, and in 1892 a Mayoral chain of office was procured. The eighteenth-century ‘Borough House’ off High Street was adapted as a council chamber and offices in 1892, to be replaced by new municipal chambers when King George Street was opened in 1928.
Local Government reorganisation resulted, in 1974, of Yeovil Town Council’s authority being entirely transferred to a new District Council. However, to preserve ‘ancient civic customs and dignities’ a body known as the Charter Trustees would be permitted, but possess no local government powers. This state remained until 1982 when the former borough was granted the status of a parish council.