The Land Drainage Act of 1930 created the Catchment Boards of England and Wales which were to have oversight over main rivers and which were funded by precepts from other authorities including Internal Drainage Boards and County Councils. The River Trent Catchment Board was established in May 1931. Its predecessor bodies included a number of early drainage, navigation, and warping companies which were absorbed by or amalgamated with the River Trent Catchment Board in 1941. The River Boards Act of 1948 brought together the responsibilities for drainage, fisheries and pollution under single authorities and on 1 April 1951, the Catchment Board became the Trent River Board, taking over the functions of the Trent Fishery Board. The next change of name occurred on 1 April 1965 when, following the Water Act of 1963, the Trent River Board became the Trent River Authority. The Authority was responsible for flood prevention and land drainage along the 'main rivers' in its area, conserving, monitoring and developing water resources, controlling water quality, preventing pollution, and managing fish stocks and angling licences. The 1973 Water Act created new Water Authorities with comprehensive management of the entire water cycle and so the River Authorities were dissolved.
The first Engineer to the River Trent Catchment Board was Walter Haile who was succeeded in 1953 by Marshall Nixon. The Engineer's Department continued to exist until the Trent River Authority was dissolved under the 1973 Water Act.
In order to organise engineering works, the Trent Catchment Board was initially divided into 4 main areas, the Northern Area with its own office and resident engineer at Gainsborough, the Home Area, the Southern Area and the Stafford Area. The Trent River Board and Trent River Authority continued to maintain this basic structure although there were some later changes in divisional boundaries including the abandonment of the Stafford Area as a separate division, and the introduction of a Keadby Division which was subsequently merged into the Northern Division.
The largest of the three land drainage divisions, the Home Division, comprised most of Nottinghamshire with the exception of the Trent Basin north of Newark, most of Leicestershire with the exception of the Mease basin in the west of the county and a large part of Derbyshire excluding the Chesterfield area and the Dove Basin in the west. The Division included most of the major towns in the East Midlands region including Nottingham, Mansfield, Worksop, Retford and Newark in Nottinghamshire, Leicester, Loughborough and Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire and Derby, Matlock, Bakewell and Buxton, Derbyshire. The main watercourses included the River Trent (middle reach) and the Rivers Idle, Ryton, Derwent, Soar, Sence (Soar tributary), Erewash, Leen, Maun and Wreake. The Home Division also included the Rivers Idle and Ryton Internal Drainage District and several pumping stations including Keadby and Dirtness.
The Northern Division incorporated the Trent Basin in Nottinghamshire to the north of Newark and the Trent basin in Lincolnshire to the east of the River Trent. It included the whole of the River Trent Tidal Reach, the Bottesford Beck and the River Eau and short lengths of the Fosse Dyke and Beckingham Drain, as well as the Hatfield Chase Corporation Drainage District. The Keadby Divison, which later became part of the Northern Division, included the River Torne, North and South Soak Drains, Hatfield waste Drain, Snow Sewer and other watercourses. The main towns within the Northern Division were Gainsborough and Scunthorpe.
The Southern Division incorporated most of Staffordshire, part of Derbyshire in the Dove Basin, the Mease Basin area of Leicestershire and the Tame and Amber Basins in Warwickshire. The main towns in the Division were Stafford, Stoke-upon-Trent, Uttoxeter, Burton-upon-Trent and Tamworth in Staffordshire, Ashbourne in Derbyshire and Nuneaton and Birmingham, at that time within the county of Warwickshire. The main watercourses in the southern Division were the upper reaches of the River Trent, and the Rivers Dove, Tame, Anker, Sence (Anker tributary), Churnet, Cole, Sow, Penk, Mease, Blythe and Blithe and the Foston and Meece Brooks. The Division also included the Sow and Penk Drainage District and the Elford Internal Drainage District.
The Hydrology/Water Resources Section of the Engineer's Department was managed separately and had its own filing system at its offices at Trentside, West Bridgford Nottingham, so these files have been treated as a separate collection (RH).