Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 E/COT

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1714-1936

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 2.56 linear metres (1652 documents).

Name of creator(s): Bow Common Estate Company
Cotton | family | landowners in East London


Administrative/Biographical history:

William Cotton, a former Governor of the Bank of England, owned a large amount of property in East London, mainly in Limehouse and Mile End. On his death his will (dated 6 Jul 1865) passed the estate to his executors and trustees (of whom his son was one) on condition it was to be further developed and held on trust for members of his family.

In June 1901 the estate was turned into a private company, known as the Bow Common Estate Company, limited by shares. The company remained a family concern however, and all of the shareholders were descendants of William Cotton. From 1921 the estate was sold, and the proceeds invested in trustee securities. These were realised in January 1926 and the Company liquidated, the proceeds of the realisation being distributed amongst the shareholders on a pro rata basis.


Scope and content/abstract:

This collection comprises records of the William Cotton Estate (later the Bow Common Estate) and documents the acquisition and running of the Cotton estate from [1714]- 1936.. The records include marriage settlements, trustee appointments, wills and probates, legal case papers, administrative papers for the Limehouse estate, papers relating to property transactions, registers of properties, plans and maps, catalogue of wines for auction and register of leases. Some of the material concerns the Bow Common Estate Company Ltd.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The collection has been divided into 10 series.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in June 1954.


Related material:

This collection is additional to ACC/2657, records of the Bow Common Estate Company.


Archivist's note:

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: Records prepared May to September 2011.

Estate management | Land management | Land economics | Agricultural economics
Property companies | Companies | Enterprises
Property owners | People by roles | People
Property ownership | Civil law | Legal systems | Law
Property transfer | Property
Real estate developers | Developers | People by roles | People
Right to property | Civil and political rights | Human rights
Title deeds | Deeds | Documents | Information sources
Property law x Right to property

Personal names
Cotton | family | landowners in East London

Corporate names
Bow Common Estate Company

Bow Common | Tower Hamlets | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Limehouse | Tower Hamlets | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Mile End | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe