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London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4064

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1950

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 0.08 linear metres

Name of creator(s): Metropolitan Water Board


Administrative/Biographical history:

Early water supply to the city of London came directly from wells and rivers. However, as early as 1236 the fresh water supply was dwindling as the number of residents in the city increased; and works began to bring in fresh water from outside the city. The era of free water gave way to the era of commercial supply with the foundation of the New River Company (1612) and the London Bridge Waterworks (1581). Chelsea Waterworks Company was founded in 1723, and in 1746 laid the first iron water main (pipes were previously made of wood or lead). The Southwark Water Company was founded in 1760, the Lambeth Water Works Company in 1785, the Vauxhall Water Company in 1805, the West Middlesex Waterworks Company in 1806, the East London Waterworks Company in 1807, the Kent Waterworks Company in 1809 and the Grand Junction Waterworks Company in 1811.

It was not until 1902 that the Metropolis Water Act was passed, leading to the creation of the Metropolitan Water Board. This took over eight private water companies, taking over the New River Company headquarters on Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell. The board was made up of 66 delegated members, 14 from the London County Council, 31 from the Metropolitan Borough Councils and City Corporation, and 21 from the authorities of localities outside the water companies' areas. From 1907 widespread reservoir and waterworks building was carried out.

From 1974 the administration of the Metropolitan Water Board was transferred to the new Thames Water Authority. In 1989 Thames Water became a private company and set up a principal operating subsidiary, Thames Water Utilities Limited, to supply water and sewerage services.

Grinling Gibbons (1648-1721), was a woodcarver and sculptor who invented a style of foliage woodcarving that was unprecedented in its finely modelled naturalism and subtlety of design, its startling projection and flamboyant pale tone. Long celebrated as the greatest British woodcarver, Gibbons might be said to rank among the greatest of all decorative woodcarvers.

Sir Hugh Myddleton was the founder of the New River Company.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Metropolitan Water Board, 1950, comprising photographs of Grinling Gibbons' Oak Room and postcards of a portrait of Sir Hugh Myddelton and a view of London in 1754.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

LMA/4064/001: Photographs; LMA/4064/002: Postcards.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright rests with the City of London.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated to the Archive in 1998.


Related material:

For further records of the Metropolitan Water Board see ACC/3306 and ACC/3818. See also Thames Water Predecessors, ACC/2558.

DESCRIPTION NOTES Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: July to October 2009

Photographs | Visual materials
Postcards | Records and correspondence | Information sources

Personal names

Corporate names
Metropolitan Water Board