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BECOMING A BOROUGH: Oldham in the 1880s. The Local Government Act 1888 created elected county councils to administer services throughout England and Wales. Where a municipal borough had a population of more than 50,000 at the 1881 Census it was created a county borough, with the powers and duties of both a borough and county council. As Oldham had an 1881 population of 111,343 it duly became a county borough on 1st April 1889.