Catalogue description Lambeth Waterworks Company Corporate Records

This record is held by London Metropolitan Archives: City of London

Details of ACC 2558/LA/01
Reference: ACC 2558/LA/01
Title: Lambeth Waterworks Company Corporate Records
Held by: London Metropolitan Archives: City of London, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Lambeth Waterworks Company, 1785 - 1904

Administrative / biographical background:

The Company was established in 1785 to supply the parish of Lambeth and adjacent areas. Its original intake was from the Thames near the present site of the Royal Festival Hall and works were built at Streatham Hill and Brixton. In 1848 an Act was passed to move the intake to Ditton and in 1852 the works Surbiton were opened.


The Lambeth Water Works Company was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1785 to supply the Parish of Lambeth and adjacent areas. The original Works consisting of an intake and pumping station, occupied part of the Royal Festival Hall site.


As demand for water supply grew the company extended its works and in 1832 an open reservoir was completed at Streatham Hill. In 1834 the company built two further reservoirs containing rough filters at Brixton and pumping engines were installed to supply water to the higher areas. The works at Brixton became the company's main distribution station.


By 1847 the quality of the water supply opposite the Festival Hall site had deteriorated to such an extent that the company decided to promote a bill in Parliament to enable new works to be constructed at Long Ditton. In 1848 the bill was passed and the new works were inaugurated in 1852. The periodic incursion of flood water from the River Mole induced the company to draw its water from further up the river and in 1872 a new intake was opened at West Molesey, reservoirs being added there in 1874 and 1903.


By the end of the century the works at Brixton and Long Ditton had grown considerably and service reservoirs for filtered water had been constructed at Coombe (1864), Norwood (1877), Rock Hill (1857) and Selhurst (1861).


By another Act of 1900 the company were granted powers to construct a large storage reservoir at Island Barn, Molesey. This was eventually inaugurated in 1911 by the Metropolitan Water Board who had taken over the functions of the company in 1904, following the Metropolis Water Act, 1902.

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