W&D IDB Archive

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The Welland & Deepings Internal Drainage Board was formed in 1973 by the amalgamation of four adjoining Boards: Deeping Fen Spalding & Pinchbeck,  Maxey,  North Welland  and Baston  Langtoft & the Deepings. The Board is an autonomous public body under the direct control of its Board members.

The Board is one of some 120 which are established in low lying areas of England and Wales such as the Fens, Somerset Levels, Kent Marshes and parts of Yorkshire.  The functions and powers of Boards are defined by the Land Drainage Act 1991 and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

The Board’s area covers approximately 35,000 hectares and extends from just north of Peterborough to just south of Boston. Within their area the Board manage 14 pumping stations, 3 tidal sluices, 70 water level control structures and over 660km of open watercourses and surface water sewers.

Drainage and protecting the area from tidal inundation has played an important role in South Holland since Roman times. Records indicate that both the Anglo Saxons and later the Monasteries constructed embankments to keep water out.

The first Commissioners for Sewers were appointed by Henry III in 1253 following which the Courts of Sewers were established to ensure flood protection and safeguard the drainage network.

In the 1600’s the Courts gave Adventurers permission to undertake extensive drainage improvements, often with the help of Dutch expertise. The main drainage network we see today is largely based on the extensive systems put in place by those early pioneers.

The Boards we know today evolved from these Courts of Sewers with the Deeping Fen Board being constituted in 1939.

In 1988 the Board created the Pinchbeck Engine Land Drainage Museum in the old 1833 steam engine pumping station at Pinchbeck Marsh. The museum houses a display of drainage tools and other similar artefacts along with display boards telling the history of land drainage from Roman times to the present day. The museum is open from May to August, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.00 am to 3 pm,. Admission is free and attendants on site are pleased to give guided tours and demonstrate how the old steam engine pump would have worked.

Many of the early minute books accounts and documents dating back to 1669 are deposited in the Lincolnshire Archives. The Board do however have some records which may be of interest to South Holland residents examples of which are given below.

These documents can be viewed by clicking on the paragraph header highlighted and then clicking on the document or photographs. Further clicking will enlarge the item. Note: This archive will grow in the coming months so if you don’t see what you are looking for keep coming back.

ALL Archive Records

  • Photographs
    • Old machines – Draglines, Weed cutting boats, Dredgers, Emergency Pumps, Piling Equipment
    • Old working methods – Scything, Spade roding, Jack balling water over a dam
    • Pumping Stations – Pode Hole Adventurers – 1957 construction, Pode Hole Deeping St Nicholas 1964, Dismantling Kesteven and Holland steam engines at Pode Hole
    • Floods – 1947, 1968, 1998
  • Plans and Drawings
    • Engineering drawings of structures – Pode Hole Pumping Stations, Bridges, River Glen Sluice 1878
    • Drawings of drainage equipment – Piling Frames, Excavators, Scouring Dam 1882
    • Maps of the area – Plan of Commons 1857, Plan showing lands described in Act of 1832 for Pinchbeck, Jos Featherstones Map of Deeping Fen – 1763
    • Old Ordnance Survey plans – Editions between 1888  to 1931 at scales of 25” and 6” to the mile
  • Reports 
    • General
    • Deeping Fen Drainage – Maxwell & Hare 1800, Jessop, Rennie, Maxwell & Hare – 1800,  Thos Pear 1820
    • Vernatts Drain – John Rennie – 1818
    • River Welland – Benjamin Bevan – 1812, Thomas Pear – 1815, James Walker 1835 & 1838
    • Length of Drains Maintained in Deeping Fen 1943
    • Lowland Drainage of the Witham Fens – F. H. Tomes OBE 1970?
    • Major flood events – 1947  Flood  – River Welland and South Holland Drainage Boards
    • Improvement and Pumping Station schemes – River Welland Major Improvement Scheme 1947 -1957
    • Pode Hole Pumping Stations – A History of Deeping Fen 1964 – W. D. Miles
    • Bourne South Fen Pumping Station – A History of Bourne South Fen & Thurlby Fen 1976  – W. D. Miles M. B. E.
    • Maxey Pumping Station 1977 – A History of Drainage of North Fen near Peakirk   – W. D. Miles M. B. E.
    •  Rainfall Records – The Board have records from 1829
    • Old Accounts, Rating  and  Estimates – Conditions of contract – Locks Mill Pumping station Dec 1938
    • Old Machines
    • Floating Scouring Dam 1882
    • Specification and price Pheonix motor company – Motor Launch for Deeping Fen Drainage Trust 13th April 1909
    • Specification Priestman Bros Ltd for Fixed Priestman Dredger for Deeping Fen Drainage Trust 17th May 1907
    • Instructions and Useful Information Class “M” Oil engines – Ruston & Hornsby – pub 4694
    • Steam Cylinder and Valve Lubrication – No.5 Gargoyle Technical Series 1931 (For Pinchbeck engine)
  • Acts of Parliament – click here to read

    • Draining low lands between Boston and Bourne 1765 
    • Amending, Rendering more effective previous Acts for Drainage of Deeping Fen 1774
    • River Welland Improvement 1794
    • Draining and Enclosing Crowland Common 1801
    • Enclosing of lands in Maxey,Deeping Gate,Northborough, Glinton etc 1809
    • Maintaining roads between Spalding High Bridge and Deeping St James 1821
    • Drainage of between Boston Haven & Bourne 1846
    • Crowland & Cowbit Washes Drainage 1847

For more information

Welland & Deepings Internal Drainage Board

Deeping House,

Welland Terrace,

Spalding.

PE11 2TD

Tel 01775 725861

Email; info@wellandidb.org.uk

www.wellandidb.org.uk