Manuscripts and Special Collections

Water Project Archivist starts with sewage

June 17th, 2011 at 01:06

As an introduction to the water records, my first task as Project Archivist for the Water Project (Rivers, drainage and water supply: accessing the historic records of water authorities in the lower Trent area), funded by the National Cataloguing Grants scheme, was to create a multi-level description in CALM for the collection of Records of Stoke Bardolph and Bulcote Model Farms, 1892-1975.

Construction of the Corporation of Nottingham’s sewage farm began under the direction of the City Engineer M. Ogle Tarbotton. Sewage was first used on land at Stoke Farm in June 1880, distributed across the fields using open channels, the idea being that so long as there were no ‘accumulations’ there would be no nasty smells. Interestingly, Tarbotton’s successor abandoned this scheme and instead used underground siphons for distribution.

Unwrapped ledger from Stoke Bardolph Collection

The collection details the management of this fully functioning agricultural business from 1892, a decade after the farms became operational, to the establishment of the Severn Trent Water Authority in 1973. It comprises 114 huge volumes which had been carefully wrapped in acid free paper for protection during the move of Manuscripts and Special Collections to new premises. It was a great relief to have an existing list of contents which considerably cut down on the amount of unwrapping involved in the exercise!

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