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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/272
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1771-1908
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 815 production units.
Name of creator(s): Commissioners of Sewers | Corporation of London x Public Health Department


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, amended by various local acts. 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 Commissioners had responsibility to undertake the construction of sewers and drains as well as the paving, cleaning and lighting of the City streets. Its powers were greatly extended by subsequent Acts of Parliament.

Under the City of London Sewers Act 1897, the Commission was dissolved with effect from January 1898 and its duties and responsibilities transferred to the Common Council of the Corporation of London and subsequently exercised by a separate Public Health Department until 1947 when the department was merged in the Town Clerk's Office.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Commissioners of Sewers of the City of London. The records comprise: official documents relating to the case of the Commissioners of Sewers of the City of London v William Bulkeley Glasse and others; sewer rate books, 1771-1874; consolidated rate books, 1790-1908; and Metropolis Main Drainage rate books, 1858-1869.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection has been arranged in 4 series:
CLC/272/MS01649: Official documents;
CLC/272/MS02137: Sewer rates;
CLC/272/MS02138: Consolidated rates;
CLC/272/MS02139: Main drainage rates.

Conditions governing access:

Access by appointment only. Please contact staff.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records were transferred to Guildhall Library by the Corporation of London Valuation and Rating Dept in 1921. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Other papers of the City of London Commissioners of Sewers are at reference CLA/006.
Records of the City of London Public Health department are at COL/PHD/AD.
See also the architectural sketch and notebooks of Richard Kelsey who was surveyor to the City of London Commissioners of Sewers, 1832-46 (CLC/B/139/MS00433).
The Commissioners of Sewers also managed the City of London Cemetery, see CLA/052.

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:
August to October 2010.

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