Records of Stoke Bardolph and Bulcote Model Farms, 1892-1975

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises large volumes which record details of the work of the farms from 1892, a decade after the farm became operational, to the establishment of the Severn Trent Water Authority in 1973. Some of the series of ledgers, such as the wage records span lengthy time periods, revealing developments such as pensions, war allowances, and the employment of women and boys, and customers listed in the sales ledgers include many local businesses and institutions, such as University College Nottingham's halls of residence.

Wages and labour form the largest series of records, with volumes detailing the names of employees and the nature of work undertaken (including farm work, maintenance work, etc.). (RSB 1)

Information regarding sales (with alphabetical listing of customers in the sales ledgers) are to be found in three series in particular. (RSB 2-4)

Accounting records include cash books, bought invoice books (listing accounts of suppliers), nominal ledgers (recording revenue and expenses), and some analysis of income and expenditure. (RSB 5-11)

Ledgers are also present listing suppliers of goods and services (RSB 12), and detailed records of stock, including the use of livestock, seeds and fertilisers, can be found. (RSB 13-17)

Cropping registers, work books and transport records provide detailed information about daily activity on the farms. (RSB 18-22)

There is also a small series of volumes recording rental incomes, with brief descriptions of the types of properties and names of tenants. (RSB 22)

A final volume has a small number of newspaper cuttings relating to the farms. (RSB 23)

Administrative / Biographical History

Following the Nottingham and District Sewerage Act of 1872, the Nottingham and Leen Valley Sewerage Board was established. There had been much discussion about ways in which to deal with the pollution of the River Trent and River Leen from the city of Nottingham and surrounding areas. In 1877 the Board's powers passed to the Corporation of Nottingham. The Corporation leased 638 acres of land at Stoke Bardolph from Earl Manvers in 1878, and later purchased the estate. Construction of a sewage farm began under the direction of the City Engineer M. Ogle Tarbotton.

Surveys of the land at Stoke Bardolph identified it as a suitable area with good drainage, where the sewage could be disposed of by means of spreading it on farm land and letting it seep through into soil. The first sewage to be received was on 17 June 1880. Tarbotton's scheme employed open channels to distribute the sewage over the land, but his successor replaced these with underground syphons. The area covered by the farm increased in subsequent years and it soon extended into the neighbouring parish of Bulcote. The farm was a fully-functioning agricultural business, selling milk produced from cows grazing on the land. By 1910 there were nearly 100 regular employees, some living in houses and cottages on the estate, and casual labour was also used.

In 1936 a combined scheme for Main Drainage and Sewage Disposal Works in the Corporation of Nottingham was inaugurated. New piping systems and a pumping station at Sneinton brought extra sewage to the farm, and new buildings were opened providing for preliminary treatment of the sewage before the effluent was spread on the land. The aeration units, completed in 1960, allowed rotation of land receiving digested sludge and created growth in dairy farming. At times it has been a centre of pedigree pigs, shirehorses and Friesian cows, and crops of hay, cereals, roots and sugar beet have been harvested over a long period.

Stoke Bardolph is currently the largest of over 30 sewage works in Nottinghamshire. Much of the sewage sludge produced during the treatment is still injected into the land at Stoke Bardolph and Bulcote Farm, and treated water is discharged into the River Trent. There has also been much investment in new processes and technologies, including the generation of electricity to power the plant using the biogas from the sewage, and the UK’s first industrial-scale energy crop anaerobic digestion plant.

Arrangement

Series have been created from groups of similar volumes, although these series do not necessarily represent continuous runs and the information recorded in ledgers within a series may vary, particularly where the column headings within the volumes have changed over time. Some of these more notable changes are flagged in the item level descriptions.

Conditions Governing Access

Accessible to all registered readers.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all finding aids belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Online: Available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, accessible from the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational and private study purposes only, depending on access status and 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 writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections

Custodial History

The records were transferred by the Lower Trent Division of the Severn Trent Water Authority in 1981.

Related Material

Manuscripts and Special Collections also holds the records of successors, the City of Nottingham Water Department Ref: R/HR, Severn Trent Water Authority Ref: RWA, Severn Trent Water Ref. RST, National Rivers Authority Ref: RRA, Environment Agency Ref: REA, and their successors predecessors: the Trent River Board/Authority (Clerk's Department Ref: RC, Engineer's Department Ref: RE, Governance records Ref: RG, Hydrology Department Ref: RH), Trent Navigation Company Ref: RtN, 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, 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 the papers of an employee of the Trent River Authority (H.R. Potter Ref: HRP).

Bibliography

Reports and accounts for the farm can be found in the published Council minutes: Records of the Borough of Nottingham: being a series of extracts from the archives of the Corporation of Nottingham published under the authority of the Corporation of Nottingham. London: Bernard Quaritch; Nottingham: Thomas Forman & Sons, 1882-1956