Manuscripts and Special Collections

Water, water, everywhere

April 22nd, 2011 at 01:04

Photograph showing workmen loading shoot for mixed concrete during the construction of Wilford Covered Service Reservoir, Nottinghamshire, c.1903-1906

Photograph showing workmen loading shoot for mixed concrete during the construction of Wilford Covered Service Reservoir, Nottinghamshire, c.1903-1906

Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham has been awarded funding by the National Cataloguing Grants scheme, administered by The National Archives and supported by the Pilgrim Trust, the Foyle Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, the Monument Trust, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Mercers Company Charitable Foundation, the Goldsmiths Company and the J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, to catalogue the papers of water supply, sewage treatment and river protection for the East Midlands area. These archives emanate from the geographical area of the Severn Trent Water Authority (STWA) which covered a vast swath of middle England from the Bristol Channel to the River Humber, from Wales to Rutland, although most of our holdings cover the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. The total volume of records is around 50 cubic metres and covers nearly one sixth of the area of our store!

The records date back to the nineteenth century and relate to the plethora of small supply, drainage and river boards which were eventually subsumed into STWA. This means they are a regionally and nationally important resource for the study of water supply, health and housing in cities, geography and erosion, conservation of the environment and native habitats for wildlife, leisure and tourism on our waterways and reservoirs, as well as climate change and threats posed by rising sea levels and flooding.

Some of our users will have already consulted the original deposit of water records and this new project will expand many of these collections, with records dating from the nineteenth century to the 1980s. The project is funding a new temporary member of staff who will work exclusively on the water records and will be with us from June.

Throughout the life of the water records project we will post regular updates on the blog to keep you informed as to our progress and alert researchers to new catalogues as they become available online.

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