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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): COL/CC/BHC
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1599-1968
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 31 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

The concept of the Court of Common Council grew from the ancient custom of the Folkmoot, when the assent of the citizens to important acts was obtained. This custom was continued by the Mayor who consulted the Commons several times during the 13th century. From 1376 the assembly began to meet regularly and was referred to as the Common Council. It was decided that the Council should be made up of persons elected from each Ward. By 1384 a permanent Common Council chosen by the citizens was established for all time. The Council assumed legislative functions and adopted financial powers, confirmed by Charters of 1377 and 1383. The Council has often used these powers to amend the civic constitution, regulate the election of Lord Mayor and other officials, and amend the functions of the City courts. The Council was judged so successful in the conduct of its duties that it was the only Corporation unreformed by Parliament following the Municipal Corporations Commission report of 1837, while the Corporation Inquiry Commission of 1854 suggested only minor reforms. The work of the Council is conducted by a number of committees, while the whole Council has the right to approve policy, confirm major decisions and sanction expenditure. The committees handle many aspects of the running of the City including land and estates, finance and valuation, open spaces, street improvement and town planning, public health, police, Port of London, civil defence, airports, libraries, markets, education, and law. The Town Clerk has held responsibility for recording the minutes of the Council and its committees since 1274.

The Bridge House Committee was responsible for the administration of the Bridge House Estates, land owned by the Corporation and leased out, providing revenue for the building and maintenance of bridges across the Thames. From 1274 Bridge Masters or Wardens were appointed by the Committee to receive rents, manage the estate and repair the bridges. The Bridge House Committee was not formed until 1592. The responsibilities of the Bridge Masters ceased in 1855 but the post remained open as an honorary office. The bridges built and maintained by the Bridge House Committee are London Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Tower Bridge and the Millennium Footbridge.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Bridge House Committee, Court of Common Council, 1599-1968, including journals, 1622-1866; minute books, 1667-1968; minute books relating to Bridge House Committee Excursions, 1861-1894; committee papers, 1599-1957; Bridge Masters' report book, 1881-1914; surveyor's reports to the Bridge House Committee, 1941-1965; orders and resolutions, 1611-1741, 1789-1802 and 1813-1853; warrant books, 1797-1824 and 1885-1913; standing orders, 1867 and 1938; Bridge House rentals, 1897-1950; Tower Bridge Buildings rentals, 1889-1914; advertisements for proposals for leasing land and for tenders for contracts, 1878-1902; bills, accounts and sundry papers, 1629-1826 and papers regarding the never built St Paul's bridge, 1905-1930.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For Corporation of London records relating to Bridge House Estates see: CLA/008: City Lands Estates, CLA/020: Tower Bridge, CLA/022: London Bridge, CLA/061: Jacobs Family, COL/AC: Archives, COL/AD: Administration, COL/CC/BHC: Court of Common Council Bridge House Committee, COL/CC/BHT: Court of Common Council Bridge House Trust Committee, COL/CC/CLBH: Court of Common Council City Lands and Bridge House Estate Committee, COL/CC/CLC: Court of Common Council City Lands Committee, COL/CC/JTB: Court of Common Council Joint Bridge House Estates and Improvement Committee, COL/CC/JTS: Joint Bridge House and Special Committee, COL/CC/JTT: Joint Bridge House Estates and Thames Navigation and Port of London Committee, COL/CCS/CO: Comptroller and City Solicitor, COL/CHD/BH: Chamberlain's Department: Bridge House Estates, COL/CHD/IM: Chamberlain's Department: Improvements, COL/CHD/RN: Chamberlain's Department: Rents and Rentals, COL/CSD/HO: Community Services Department: Housing, COL/CT: Charters, COL/OF: Officers, COL/PL: Plans, COL/PLD/PL: Planning Department Plans, COL/SVD/PL: Surveyor's Department Plans, COL/TSD/PL: Technical Services Department Plans.

Publication note:

Description Notes

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:
February 2009

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