Commissioners of the River Colne Navigation
Records of the Commissioners of the River Colne Navigation: map of the river 1842.
These records are available immediately for research
During the reign of Richard I the river was placed under the new Corporation of Colchester. A 1623 Act ensured Colchester had better control of the river. An Act of 1698 authorized the improvement of the river down to Wivenhoe, 4 miles from Colchester. Commissioners were appointed to oversee the works. Colchester suffered a severe slump in the 1700s, as a result of this the navigation was allowed to decay. By 1749 the Colne was derelict, the corporation had given up control. Other commissioners, not members of Colchester Corporation, were allowed, under an Act of 1719, to supervise the Colne. This Act also extended the time limit for completion of improvement works authorized by the Act of 1698. The other commissioners secured a further Act in 1750, which vested control in the justices of the East Division of Essex and reformed the toll structure. In 1842 and 1847 schemes and ideas were put forward for various improvements and works on the river. Ultimately it was the railway which decided things in 1847 when a line was opened from the Eastern Counties Railway to the Hythe. The river was widened and deepened and the old lock removed. Today Colchester remains a port. Since 1892 the Colne has been under the Corporation. For further information see Edward Paget-Tomlinson's 'The Illustrated History of Canals & River Navigations'.
It has not been possible to ascertain any original structure of record-keeping from the small number of records held for this company. The fonds has therefore been arranged in chronological order.