Records of the Trent Navigation Company, 1780-1934

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection relates to the first thirty years of the Company's existence, and consists chiefly of reports and correspondence. From 1780-1813 the Company's engineer was William Jessop of Butterley, and his reports and correspondence survive in the collection. Most of the letters, reports and other papers were drawn up or collected by the Clerks to the Trent Navigation Company. This role was filled for many years by members of a Newark firm of solicitors, among which were Job Brough, Edward Smith Godfrey and Edward Tallents.

Later items deal with the relationship between the Company and the railways in the 1840s. There are also documents relating to a number of lawsuits in the 1880s which followed the great floods of 1875 and 1877. Finally, there are documents dealing with the opposition of the Trent River Catchment Board, 1931-1934, to the Navigation Company's last works before it merged with the Board in 1940.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Trent Navigation Company was established by Act of Parliament in 1783. The company was responsible for improving and maintaining the navigation on the River Trent between Wilden Ferry near Shardlow in Derbyshire and Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, and the junctions with various canals and rivers. The only stretch it was not responsible for was the northern branch of the Trent from Averham to South Muskham, which was run by the Newark Navigation Commission following an Act of Parliament in 1772. The Trent Navigation Company ran the southern branch between the same places, through the town of Newark itself. The 1783 Act and subsequent Acts authorised the Company to raise capital, undertake works, and levy tolls on river traffic.

A number of Acts of Parliament concerning the Trent Navigation Company were passed in the late nineteenth century, and mostly concerned with its proper organisation. The Trent Navigation Act of 1858 was followed by the Trent Navigation Act of 1884, which incorporated the company. A prospectus was drawn up and shares offered for sale. In 1887, following another Act of Parliament, the Trent Navigation Company was taken over by the Trent (Burton-upon-Trent and Humber) Navigation Company. The Trent Navigation Act of 1892 restored the original company name.

By the Nottingham Corporation (Trent Navigation Transfer) Act of 1915, the stretch of the Trent from Averham up to Nottingham was put under the control of the city of Nottingham. The Corporation funded £450,000 worth of improvements, completed in 1927, which included a number of new locks and a cut at Holme Lock.

The Trent Navigation Company ceased to exist in 1940, when it was taken over by the Trent River Catchment Board.

Arrangement

Material has been arranged in chronological order. Much remains in bundles.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

Typescript Catalogue (to bundle level), 13 pp

At the National Register of Archives, London:

Typescript Catalogue (to bundle level), 13 pp

Online:

Catalogue available from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email mss-library@nottingham.ac.uk).

Custodial History

The records came to the University Library in November 1970 from the Trent River Authority, which succeeded the Trent River Board.

Related Material

Manuscripts and Special Collections also holds the records of their successors, the Trent River Board/Authority (Clerk's Department Ref: RC, Engineer's Department Ref: RE, Governance records Ref: RG, Hydrology Department Ref: RH, Treasurer's Department Ref: RT), Severn Trent Water Authority Ref: RWA, Severn Trent Water Ref. RST, National Rivers Authority Ref: RRA, Environment Agency Ref: REA; also their successor's predecessors (Brigg Court of Lincolnshire Commissioners of Sewers Ref: Br, Court of Sewers for the Level of Hatfield Chase/Hatfield Chase Corporation Ref: HCC, Trent Fishery Board Ref: RTF); also records relating to sewerage and water supply (City of Nottingham Water Department Ref: R/HR, Derwent Valley Water Board Ref: DVW, Stoke Bardolph and Bulcote Model Farms Ref: RSB, Papplewick Pumping Station Ref: PPS, Nottingham New Waterworks/Northern Waterworks Company Ref: MS 880); also an employee of the Trent River Authority (H.R. Potter Ref: HRP).