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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): SKCS
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1569-1854
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 24.73 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Surrey and Kent Commissioners of Sewers


Administrative/Biographical history:

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.

Letters Patent for the Surrey and Kent Commissioners of Sewers were issued in 1554. Its minutes begin in 1570 and it was the earliest of the London Commissions to be established on an organised basis. The area of its jurisdiction ran from East Molesey in Surrey to the River Ravensbourne, and included Lambeth, Southwark, Bermondsey, Newington, Deptford, Rotherhithe, Clapham, Battersea, Camberwell, Vauxhall, Wandsworth, Putney, Barnes, Kew, Lewisham, Walworth, Kennington, Nine Elms, Peckham and New Cross. The area of jurisdiction remained the same throughout the three centuries during which it functioned. It is worth pointing out that the areas listed above are no longer in Surrey and Kent but are part of Greater London.


Scope and content/abstract:

Letters patent appointing Commissioners, 1727-1840; writs to swear in Commissioners and to summon juries, 1727-1830; qualification book containing forms of declaration of 100 property owners, 1834-1844; court minutes and presentments, 1569-1642; court minutes, 1677-1781; court orders, 1703-1781; court minutes and orders, 1781-1847; General Purposes Committee minutes, 1820-1847; plans and sections of sluices, sewers, washways, culverts, roads, streets and wharves; original presentments of juries, not reproduced in full in the minutes, 1743-1793; out letter books, 1833-1848; financial records, 1789-1854 and rate books, 1723-1848.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

SKCS/1-9: Letters Patent; SKCS/10-16: Writs; SKCS/17: Qualification Book; SKCS/18-64: Court Minutes and Orders; SKCS/65-68: General Purpose Committee; SKCS/69-258: Original Contracts; SKCS/259-301: Presentments; SKCS/302-305: Correspondence; SKCS/306-330: Financial Records; SKCS/332-918: Rate Books; SKCS/919-920: Printed Papers; SKCS/P and SKCS/PR: Plans and maps.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acquired with the records of its successor body, the Metropolitan Board of Works. An additional presentment roll was received in 1963 (AC/63/057).

Allied Materials

Related material:

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

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