Manuscripts and Special Collections

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Clean Water

The library collections include archives from companies which managed water supply and drainage in previous centuries.

Through plans, photographs, correspondence and reports, these illustrate an aspect of modern health and hygiene which perhaps we take for granted in 21st-century Britain.

A petition of 1811 from cottage occupiers at Burringham, north Lincolnshire to the Commissioners of Court of Sewers at Brigg seeks relief from the common burden of responsibility for cleaning out the drains. The document is signed by twelve local men, and bears the mark of four others and a widow.

The rapidly expanding needs of Nottingham are reflected in the plans for the City of Nottingham Leen Valley Main Sewer in 1929. This example gives details of the construction of manhole shafts, complete with ladders for access.

The most substantial collection of plans concerns water supply and drainage in urban areas. Until clean water was available, disease was difficult to control in crowded cities. The success of the water companies in the 19th and early 20th centuries laid the foundation for modern provision.

Photographs were taken to record the building of the Wilford Covered Service Reservoir (1903-1906) by Nottinghamshire Corporation Waterworks. Workmen appear in some of the images, which show the turntable for tram wagons used to supply material to the construction.

Further sources relating to this subject area are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at King's Meadow Campus. See our website for information about our collections and catalogues.

Petition to Court of Sewers Zoom in

Petition to Court of Sewers

Leen Valley manhole shaft Zoom in

Leen Valley manhole shaft

Wilford Reservoir Zoom in

Wilford Reservoir

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