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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GCS
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1625-1847
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1.05 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Greenwich Commission 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.

The first separate Commission for "the County of Kent from Ravensborne to Lombardes Wall", that is for Greenwich Marshes, was issued on 24 September 1624.


Scope and content/abstract:

Letters Patent appointing Commissioners, 1810-1839; orders and proceedings (minutes of the Commissioners), 1625-1847; assessments and accounts, 1664-1834; assessments for the maintenance of the levels and marshes of East Greenwich, 1775-1809; annual estimates of expenditure for the Commission, 1790-1833; reports of Committees to the Court on various matters (assessments, surveys, and so on), 1833-1847; petitions, reports, legal papers, opinions of Counsel, jury presentments and surveys, 1810-1845; contracts, agreements and tenders relating to works, 1826-1845; correspondence, 1825-1839; A survey of East Greenwich with table of owners and occupiers, survey by Timothy Skynner, 1745 and enlarged copy of the 1745 plan of the land of East Greenwich showing survey alterations and the tenements and buildings which have been erected to July 1834, 1834.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

GCS/1-4: Letters patent appointing commissioners; GCS/5-10: Orders and Proceedings; GCS/11-50: Assessments and Accounts; GCS/51-89: General papers; GCS/PR: 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, the Metropolitan Board of Works.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For further records relating to sewers in London please see MCS: Metropolitan Commission of Sewers; PCS: Poplar Commission of Sewers; SKCS: Surrey and Kent Commission of Sewers; THCS: Tower Hamlets Commission of Sewers; WCS: Westminster and Middlesex Commission of Sewers; NSJSB: North Surrey Joint Sewage Board; O/080 and O/160: Westminster Commission of Sewers; ACC/2766: Crossness Pumping Station; GCS: Greenwich Commission of Sewers; HLCS: Havering Level Commission of Sewers; HFCS: Holborn and Finsbury Commission of Sewers; RMSB: Richmond Main Sewerage Board; STKCS: Saint Katherine's Commission of Sewers; WVA: Wandle Valley Main Drainage Authority and MBW: Metropolitan Board of Works. For the City of London see CLA/006: City of London Commissioners of Sewers.

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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