AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): PCS
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1629-1847
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1.63 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Poplar Commission of Sewers


Administrative/Biographical history:

On 18th January 1600 a Commission of Sewers was issued to Sir John Picton and others 'for serten lymitts betwene Lymehouse and Blackwall'. The Commission for 1620 was for 'Stebenheath alias Poplar Marsh', and this with some verbal variations was used for most of the later Commissions.

Early Commissioners of Sewers were solely concerned with land drainage and the prevention of flooding, not with the removal of sewage in the modern sense. In 1531 an Act of Sewers was passed which set out in great detail the duties and powers of Commissioners and governed their work until the 19th century. Gradually a permanent pattern emerged in the London area of seven commissions, five north and two south of the Thames, with, after the Great Fire, a separate commission for the City of London. The London commissioners had more extensive powers than those in other parts of the country; they had control over all watercourses and ditches within two miles of the City of London as well as newly constructed drains and sewers. After 1800 the London commissioners also obtained powers to control the formation of new sewers and house drains.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Poplar Commission of Sewers, including Letters Patent appointing Commissioners, 1702-1837; writs and warrants, 1662-1847, including writs authorizing the Commissioners to execute their office faithfully, writs discharging certain Commissioners from their duties, writs to summon juries and warrants for collection of rates; registers of orders and decrees, 1629-1847; out letter book, 1828-1843; financial accounts and rate books, 1780-1847; New Testament belonging to the Commissioners, 1797; reference book listing owners and occupiers, 1817; and maps and plans of Poplar showing sewers and levels of land.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

PCS/1-13: Letters Patent; PCS/14-62: Writs and Warrants; PCS/63-68: Registers; PCS/69: Correspondence; PCS/70-78: Financial; PCS/79-80: Printed Items; PCS PR/1-5: Maps and Plans.

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:

Acquired with the records of its successor body.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For the original Commissions of Sewers see The National Archives Crown Office Docquet Books, reference Ind. 4208 and Ind. 4211.

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:
April to June 2009

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"