Shanghai Municipal Council (July 11, 1854 - 1943) was an organization of businessmen leaders in Shanghai active from middle part of the 19th century to the early 20th century. The organization was formed on July 11, 1854 by a group of influential western businessmen who argued that Shanghai suffered under a lack of proper municipal governance. It laid down land regulations and began to assist in the construction of new roads, established refuse collection, and even initiated taxation. By the late-1860s Shanghai's official governing body had been practically transferred from the individual concessions to the Shanghai Municipal Council (工部局). The British Consul was the de jure authority in the Settlement, but he had no actual power unless the ratepayers (who voted for the council) agreed. Instead, he and the other consulates deferred to the Council, which was made of 9 figures, 5 from the British Settlement, 2 form the American Settlement, and 2 from the Japanese Settlement. No Chinese were permitted to serve on the council until 1928. By the 1880s the council acquired a virtual monopoly over city utilities, controlling gas-suppliers, electricity producers and water-companies. Later, in the early 20th century, they also took control of rickshaws, tramways, and regulated opium sales and prostitution. The council maintained its own police force, fire service, and military reserve, the Shanghai Volunteer Corps (萬國商團). The Municipal Council was disbanded in 1943, in World War II, when the Japanese closed all foreign concessions (except the French).