This record is held by East Sussex Record Office

Details of SWA
Reference: SWA

SWA1 The Brighton Intercepting and Outfall Sewerage Board 1863-1951


SWA2 The Brighton Borough Council Waterworks 1872-1974


SWA3 The Predecessors of the Brighton Borough Council Waterworks 1853-1897


SWA4 Engineering drawings of pumping stations c1850-1962


SWA5 The Portslade and Southwick Outfall Sewerage Board 1903-1973


SWA6 The Sussex River Authority 1968-1974


SWA7 The East Sussex River Board 1950-1965


SWA8 The Ouse Catchment Board 1933-1936


SWA9 The Cuckmere Catchment Board 1931-1946


SWA10 The Old Haven (Pevensey) and Bulverhythe Stream Catchment Board 1931-1946


SWA11 The Rother and Jury's Gut Catchment Board 1930-1948


SWA12 The Commissioners of Sewers for the Lewes and Laughton Levels 1791-1877


SWA13 The Commissioners of Sewers for the levels within the Rapes of Pevensey and Hastings 1846-1928


SWA14 The Commissioners of Rye Harbour 1820-1928


SWA15 The Kent River Board 1950-1963


SWA16 The Kent River Authority 1964-1970


SWA17 The Rother Board of Conservators 1871-1950


SWA18 The Commissioners of Sewers for the Rother Levels c1831-1844


SWA19 The Trustees of the Newhaven Harbour and Ouse Lower Navigation 1847-1952


SWA20 The Southern Water Authority: Inherited files 1932-1974


SWA21 The Southern Water Authority: Printed reports and publicity material [c1974]-1982


SWA22 The Southern Water Authority: Miscellaneous inherited records [c1910]-[c1925]

Date: 1820-1974
Related material:

For the East Sussex County Council water supplies joint advisory committee minutes and files 1934-1957, see C/C12/10 and C/C87. For the deposited accounts of public utilities 1822-1888 and 1889-1972, see QDT/3 and C/C109; for deposited water orders 1921-1960, see C/C114 and for a list of water undertakings 1944, see C/C77/85


For additional records see ACC 7891


Details about municipal water utilities and regulation by the East Sussex County Council can be found in the relevant catalogues


Records relating to land drainage have also survived amongst solicitors' archives, principally Dawes and Prentice of Rye (DAP), Lewis Holman and Lawrence of Lewes (LHL) and Raper and Fovargue of Battle (RAF)

Held by: East Sussex Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Southern Water Authority

Physical description: 14 boxes; 98 volumes
Access conditions:

Not available for consultation until 30 years from the last date of the document

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited 11 Nov 1975 (A1909), 12 Jun 1978 (A2259), 10 Nov 1978 (A2317), 12 Dec 1978 (A2329), 31 May 1979 (A2420), 8 Oct 1980 (A2625), 23 Oct 1981 (A2759), 16 Jun 1983 (A4101), 19 Dec 1983 (A4183), 12 Apr 1984 (A4246), 17 Sep 1984 (A4332), 27 Nov 1986 (A4758), 11 May 1988 (A5031), 16 May 1988 (A5049), 16 Jun 1988 (A5069), 29 Jun 1988 (A5082)

Administrative / biographical background:

The Southern Water Authority, established in 1974, was the successor until 1989 to the functions of a number of bodies concerned with drainage and river navigation going back to the 17th century


The earliest bodies were the commissioners of sewers whose jurisdiction derived from letters patent issued under the Statute of Sewers 1531. In East Sussex there were separate commissions for the Lewes and Laughton Levels, for the levels within the Rapes of Pevensey and Hastings, and the Rother Levels


However by the 19th century the powers of the sewer commissioners had been fragmented by the creation of competing and overlapping jurisdictions of other bodies concerned with drainage and navigation. On both the Ouse and Rother harbour commissioners for Newhaven and Rye had been in existence since 1731 and 1724 respectively. The situation on the River Ouse was further complicated by the creation in 1790 and 1791 of the Company of Proprietors of the River Ouse Navigation and the Trustees of the Ouse Lower Navigation. The former was largely defunct by the 1860s while the latter was in 1847 merged with the Commissioners of Newhaven Piers to form the Trustees of the Newhaven Harbour and Ouse Lower Navigation. They assumed certain functions with regard to the maintenance of the river as far as Bushy Brook and Hamsey (but left the sewer commissioners in being with their voting powers intact) and responsibility for Newhaven Harbour. In 1878 responsibility for the harbour passed to the Newhaven Harbour Company


From 1872 boards of conservators for the Rother and Ouse were established to protect fish stocks


Thus by the beginning of the 20th century the situation in Sussex and elsewhere had become hopelessly confused. The work of the sewer commissioners and kindred bodies continued until the Land Drainage Act 1930 (20-21 Geo V, c44) by which their duties were taken over by internal drainage boards, while overall supervision was exercised by the catchment board for that area. However, the powers of the sewer commissioners continued in force as an internal drainage board unless or until the commission was determined by a scheme under part two of the Act


Within East Sussex four catchment boards were created: the Ouse Catchment Board, Cuckmere Catchment Board, Old Haven (Pevensey) and Bulverhythe Stream Catchment Board and the Rother and Jury's Gut Catchment Board


The River Boards Act 1948 abolished the catchment boards and from 1950 established river boards. The East Sussex River Board absorbed all the catchment boards within the county except the Rother and Jury's Gut Catchment Board which went to the Kent River Board


By the Water Resources Act 1963 the Kent and East Sussex River Boards were in 1964 superseded by the Kent and Sussex River Authorities. In 1974 the unitary water authorities assumed responsibility for both rivers (drainage) and the water supply. However their unitary jurisdiction was broken up under the Water Act 1989 which created a privatized water supply industry under public regulation and transferred responsibility for the quality of inland, coastal and underground waters, controlling pollution, the management of water resources, land drainage, flood protection and fisheries to the newly created National Rivers Authority

Link to NRA Record:

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