Catalogue description Board of Trade and successors: Foreshores: Registered Files and Miscellaneous Records

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Details of BT 297
Reference: BT 297
Title: Board of Trade and successors: Foreshores: Registered Files and Miscellaneous Records

Records of the Board of Trade and its successors dealing with the administration of Crown foreshore in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The first 494 pieces consist of solicitors' papers concerning claims. Between 1866 and 1950 legal matters relating to claims by subjects to foreshore and seabed, and to various rights thereover, were dealt with by Solicitors. Their records do not constitute files but rather correspondence and legal papers relating to particular cases. Often included are copies of much earlier deeds.

Pieces 495 to 967 are bundles of files relating to management of the foreshore and seabed such as the administration of leases, licences and sales, removal of materials, coast erosion, etc.

Date: 1841-1972

There have so far been four accessions, of varied material, as described below. The accessions cover pieces 1-494, 495-952, 953-956 and 957-967.

In each of the four accessions the records are listed alphabetically under old counties, which were relevant at the time they were created.

Pieces 1-494:

Usually in the date field of the online list the dates of original documents or the dates when copies were made are given. Sometimes, however, the date of copying has been impossible to discover. In that case the date of the deed copied has been given in square brackets.

The former reference gives the number of the Board of Trade Solicitors' box in which the papers were previously housed.

BT 297/494 contains sheets, numbered under the former reference numbers, indexing the important papers in each case. The marginal file references on these sheets do not indicate that these files are extant - they are given as a possible guide to a chain of events. BT 297/494 is a much more detailed catalogue of the contents of the Solicitors' boxes than the online list, but it does not give the piece numbers and is arranged by box number, not county.

Pieces 495-952; 953-956 and 957-967:

It was the practice of the Board of Trade and other government departments involved to register each action in a separate file using an individual number plus the year as reference, and these files were added to earlier files on the same subject to form a 'bundle', which was finally indexed under the top number. This top number is that shown in the former reference field of the list.

For example, BT 297/846 consists of fourteen files, as follows: M 7467/1949, M 11549/1932, M 13739/1931, M 8965/1931, M 13445/1929, M 8008/1929, M 13247/1927, M 13788/1914, H 13653/1914, H 11366/1914, H 8621/1914, H 13603/1913, H 7698/1913, H 6127/1913. This was indexed as 7467/49.

The files originated from these departments:

H series: Board of Trade Harbour and Lighthouses etc. Department (1866-1867); Harbour Department (1867-1898); Fisheries and Harbour Department (1902-1904); Harbour Department (1904-1918); and Public Utilities and Harbour Department (1918-1919)

F and H series: Board of Trade Fisheries and Harbour Department (1898-1902)

M series: Board of Trade Marine Department (1919-1926) and Mercantile Marine Department (1926-1939); Ministry of Shipping Mercantile Marine Department (1939-1940) and Marine Division (1941); Ministry of Transport Marine Division (1947-1949)

PT/H series: Ministry of War Transport Port and Transit Control (1943-1946); Ministry of Transport Port and Transit Control (1946-1948)

PT/M series: Ministry of War Transport Marine Division (1941-1942)

S series: Board of Trade Fisheries Department (1896-1898, dealing with wreck)

DENBIGHSHIRE: 1882-1907 River Conway: Attorney General v Conway Corporation See BT 297/17-19 58

MONMOUTHSHIRE River Wye: Duke of Beaufort See BT 297/155

Related material:

For earlier and later Crown foreshore files see:




Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Trade, Marine Department, 1850-1921

Board of Trade, Marine Division, 1965-1970

Board of Trade, Mercantile Marine Department, 1921-1939

Department of Trade and Industry, Marine Division, 1970-1974

Ministry of Shipping, Marine Division, 1939-1941

Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Marine Department, 1953-1959

Ministry of Transport, Marine Department, 1946-1953

Ministry of Transport, Marine Group, 1959-1965

Ministry of War Transport, Marine Departments, 1941-1946

Physical description: 967 file(s)
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure
Administrative / biographical background:

Foreshore, the area between high and low water mark of mean tides, and the seabed out to territorial limits, is prima facie part of the Crown Estate under the management of the Crown Estate Commissioners and their predecessors.

Title to these areas can be claimed by a subject who can put forward evidence of occupation and usage over a period of 60 years, or can adduce evidence of inclusion in, for example, a grant of a manor by a sovereign, or under a charter.

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