The former Norfolk Record Office reference to these records was: EAW 7. Copies of the 1790 plan of the intended Navigation by Isaac Lenny and William Jessop are available under the references HD 25/1 and (Local Studies Library) MR 9; another copy of the of the 1790 Act is held under Local Studies Library reference qS 346 (No 56); a letter book concerning the navigation is in the Stowmarket UDC records, ref EF 14/1/4/1. For records of the East Suffolk Rivers Catchment Board, see class EK 409; for records of the River Gipping Drainage Board, see class EK 403.
Trustees of the Stowmarket Navigation, 1790-c 1932
Immediate source of acquisition:
Records transferred from Norfolk Record Office 2 February 1993
Acc No 10,226
Administrative / biographical background:
The Trustees were incorporated in 1790, and were authorised to improve the channel of the River Gipping, make several artificial cuts, and construct 16 locks between Handford Bridge (Ipswich) and Stowupland Street (Stowmarket). Proposed extensions within Stowmarket, to the Stonhams, and to Brockford via Mendlesham, were not carried out.
The Navigation opened to traffic on 14 September 1793 though the works were not fully completed until 1798. Tolls on the river were leased to the Ipswich and Bury (later the Great Eastern Railway) from 1848 to 1888. The main sources of traffic were the fertiliser works at Bramford and Stowmarket, and the explosives factory at Stowmarket, but by 1918 traffic had declined to the point that navigation above Bramford ceased and the lower section of the river closed in 1930. Powers of navigation were revoked in 1932, and the maintenance of the river later passed to the East Suffolk Rivers Catchment Board.