Document ReferenceRH
TitleRecords of the Hydrology/Water Resources Section of the Engineer's Department of the Trent River Authority and its predecessor bodies; 1930s-1980s [principally 1960s-1970s]
Extentc.230 boxes, 17 rolls, 14 large boxes of packets of plans
Access ConditionsThe bulk of the collection is accessible to all readers. However, access may be restricted to material less than thirty years old and material restricted under current Data Protection legislation. Please see our Access Policy or contact us for further advice.
Admin HistoryThe 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.

Shortly after its creation in 1951, the Trent River Board resolved to form a Hydrology Department, later renamed the Hydrology Section, and appointed a Senior Assistant Engineer. Prior to this work had already begun by the River Trent Catchment Board on a hydraulic survey of lands subject to flooding, rainfall statistics, run-offs and flood levels, with a commitment to further investigation into the then controversial subject of the relationship between rainfall and run-off. The intention was to be better able to predict flooding occurences and give advance warnings, using rain gauge readers, spread across the catchment capable of sending telegraphic information to Head Office whenever rainfall exceeded a certain level.

In 1964 staffing of the Hydrology Section increased to include a Hydrologist, Scientific Hydrologist, Statistician and Hydrological Inspector. This coincided with the Water Resources Act, 1963, which required River and Water Boards to prepare a Water Resources Development Plan to address the problem of meeting future demand for water. After the formation of the Trent River Authority in 1965, the Hydrology Section was renamed the Water Resources Section in 1966 to carry out work on the Water Resources Development Plan, which would be central to the work of the Authority. It involved estimating future demand and formulating proposals for action, including investigating the possibility of purification of water from the River Trent, the artificial re-charge of water in sandstone found within the Trent catchment area, and the development of the Rivers Dove and Derwent, which would ultimately lead to the construction of a reservoir at Carsington in Derbyshire. In 1963 research also began into establishing the relationship between run-off, rainfall, groundwater and evaporation by setting up a number of small experimental typical catchment areas. The Section continued to be responsible for collecting meteorological and hydrological data (on rainfall, evaporation, river gauging, groundwater levels, etc.), for developing flood forecasting systems, and for conducting surveys of abstraction and usage.

After becoming Severn Trent Water Authority, and following the divisional re-organisation in October 1974 (which dissolved the river divisions which had continued some elements of the work of Trent River Authority), Water Resources staff reported to the Director of Resource Planning. They were based at Headquarters at Birmingham in order to work more closely with the directorate and with water quality staff of Scientific Services. Hydrology, hydrological data collection and engineering hydrology became the responsibility in each division of the Divisional Engineer. Two outposted units at Malvern (Worcestershire) and Nottingham, remained to maintain a hydrological and hydrometric service.

Hydrologist H.R. Potter was employed by the Trent River Board/Authority within Hydrology/Water Resources for a number of years up until c.1975 and many of the files within RH relate to his work as Chief Assistant Engineer, Hydrologist and researcher. These files should be consulted in conjunction with the files which have formed his personal collection (HRP) as there is a high degree of correlation between the two collections.
Custodial HistoryThe Hydrology Section was initially based in leasehold premises on St James Street, Nottingham, until the building of a new depot with hydraulics laboratoy at Trentside depot, West Bridgford, Nottingham, which opened in July 1960. The Section had its own record section, store room and filing clerks, with a completely separate filing system to the Engineer's Department, though copies of the same documents were made for each department, and some series of closed files from the Engineers and Clerk's Departments were with the Hydrology Section for reference use.

Small groups of documents were transferred to the University Library in the 1960s, but in 1974-1975 (when Severn Trent Water Authority took over), it was decided to transfer the bulk of the records of the Clerks, Engineers and Treasurers Departments of the Trent River Authority (and predecessors), relating to activities in the Trent basin. Subsequent large accruals in the mid 1980s added these records of the Hydrology/Water Resources Section. This catalogue was produced in 2011-2012 with support from The National Archives Cataloguing Grants Programme.
DescriptionThe bulk of the files form part of the original Hydrology/Water Resources filing system (RH/WR), and deal with the core activities of flood forecasting, hydrogeology, charging and licensing, and particular developments such as the Hydrometric Scheme (which covered evaporation, river gauging, rainfall and groundwater), the Hydrological Survey, the production of the Water Resources Plan, and research into experimental catchments. The files relate principally to the 1960s and 1970s, although some series continue well into the period of Severn Trent Water Authority (1974-1989), though in some cases the activity represented in the file has changed considerably from its original function.

As with the other departments of the Trent River Board/Authority, a series of correspondence files are present (RH/C) containing copies of letters relating to the work of the Water Resources Section (Mar. 1965 - Dec. 1968). There are two small series of files originally created by the Clerk's Department of the River Trent Catchment Board (RH/RC) relating to Internal Drainage Boards and Rateable values which seem to have been used for later reference by the Section, and files from the Engineer's Department relating to particular gauging stations, tenders and a review of the River Trent Catchment Board's departmental arrangements (RH/RE).

The remainder of the files are rough working files which were not included in the official filing scheme, relating to charging schemes, floods and flood forecasting, gauge boards, recorders, gauging stations, reservoirs, weirs, etc. (RH/W). There are also assorted bundles of data recording soil moisture deficits, reservoir levels, rainfall, weir gauging, and records relating to a trial using gravel infiltration pits (RH/D).

A large series of packets of plans and sections are present (RH/Pk), some of which relate closely to the sequence of Drawing Office plans (RE/DO), but which deal specifically with the work of Hydrology/Water Resources such as the creation of new gauging stations, or maps of weather patterns; there are also various printed reports (RH/Pr) and plans (RH/P) relating to particular Trent River Board/Authority activities, and a small collection of photographs (RH/Ph).
MgtGroupRivers, drainage and water records
ArrangementThe original structure of the Water Resources filing system has been recreated for the series RH/WR, other material is divided by type into a number of other series.
Water-supply - England - Management
Floodplains - England - Trent basin
FindingAidsCopyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham. Online: Online catalogue available from the Manuscripts and Special Collections website.
ReprodnNoteReprographic copies can be supplied for educational and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.
Related MaterialH.R. Potter's own research papers are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections (Ref: HRP).
Manuscripts and Special Collections also holds the records of other departments of the Trent River Board/Authority (Clerk's Department Ref: RC, Treasurer's Department Ref: RT, Engineer's Department Ref: RE, Governance records Ref: RG); also their predecessors (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); their successors (Severn Trent Water Authority Ref: RWA, Severn Trent Water Ref. RST, National Rivers Authority Ref: RRA, Environment Agency Ref: REA); 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).
Related RecordHRP

Click the links below to view related name indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA1150Trent River Authority; 1965-19741965-1974
NA1149Trent River Board; 1951-19651951-1965
NA1152Severn Trent Water Authority; 1974-19891974-1989
NA79651Potter; H.R. (c.1925-2000); Hydrologist with the River Trent Catchment Board, Trent River Board and Trent River Authority, subsequently researcher with the Insitute of Hydrology at Wallingford and Senior Research Fellow at Nottingham Trent Polytechnic.c.1925-2000
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