Records of London (Watford) Spring Water Co Ltd

Scope and Content

  • directors' meeting minute books, 1866-1920
  • ledgers, 1867-1906
  • memorandum and articles of association, 1866
  • papers re share transfer,1920
  • mortgage register, 1891
  • site ground plan, 1887
  • financial papers, 1866-1918

Administrative / Biographical History

London (Watford) Spring Water Co Ltd (also known as the Watford Water Co), first proposed in 1849, was set up following a report on the condition of London's water supply issued by the General Board of Health in 1850. The report recommended that water should not be obtained from any part of the Thames which was within reach of its return tidal flow, and possible sewage contamination. In 1851 Parliament appointed a Commission to inquire into the condition of both the water supplied by existing London water companies and the water to be provided by proposed future suppliers, including the newly-formed London (Watford) Spring Water Co Ltd.

The Watford scheme was to draw water, not from the Thames, but from springs underlying the chalk hills between London and Watford. While the initial supply was expected to be in the region of eight million gallons a day, the company's engineer estimated that, given adequate infrastructure, the springs were capable of supplying as much as 408 million gallons daily. The commissioners reported in favour of using this underground source, and another like it south of the Thames. However, the London (Watford) Spring Water Co Bill of 1852 was opposed by the existing London water companies (many of whom drew water from the Thames within the tideway), and was never enacted. The affairs of the company were accordingly wound up in 1853.

London (Watford) Spring Water Co Ltd was a customer of Curries & Co, bankers of London.

Access Information

Historical researchers are welcome to use the archives at our Edinburgh store. Access is by appointment and researchers are required to complete an access form before they visit. Some records are subject to closure periods. For further information please email or telephone 0131 334 1428.


  • H C Richards and W H C Payne, London water supply, being a compendium of the history, law and transactions relating to the metropolitan water companies from earliest times to the present day , 2nd edition, London, 1899.