Fonds Y/PH - Gt. Yarmouth Borough: Port and Haven Commissioners

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Gt. Yarmouth Borough: Port and Haven Commissioners


  • 1677-1981 (Creation)

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2742 files

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Administrative history

The Port and Haven Commissioners were established in 1670 by a Local Act of Parliament providing for the repair and maintenance of Yarmouth Haven and Pier by means of special dues levied on incoming goods. Eight Commissioners were appointed in a supervisory capacity under this Act, two each representing the towns of Yarmouth and Norwich and the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The original Act had a life of ten years only, but the Commissioners' powers were periodically renewed by a series of Acts of limited duration till 1835. Before 1835 executive power was largely in the hands of the constituent authorities, the Town Clerk of Yarmouth acting as the Commissioners' Clerk and the Borough Chamberlains as financial officers. The Commissioners were given a more positive role by the Haven Act of 1749, and their minutes begin in 1750. By Acts of 1721 and later their responsibility for the navigable rivers flowing into Yarmouth Haven was acknowledged and their funds were apportioned between the Rivers Yare, Bure and Waveney and the Haven, the Commissioners from each of the constituent authorities being made responsible for expenditure on the waters within their jurisdiction. The Waveney between Beccles and Bungay was covered by a Private Act and therefore excluded from this arrangement. The Haven Act of 1771 stipulated that surpluses in the Suffolk quota might be applied elsewhere, and the Commissioners' minutes show that thereafter, till 1835, money was allotted for a variety of purposes but mainly for public works authorised by the Suffolk Justices. In 1835 the Commissioners were placed on a permanent footing, their organisation was separated from that of Yarmouth Corporation and they were empowered to appoint their own officers and executive committees, a Standing Committee (see Y/PH 35-49 in list) and a Committee of Survey (see Y/PH 80-95) being especially mentioned in the Act. By the Acts of 1835 and 1866 elected representatives were added to their number and the local port dues formerly collected by Yarmouth Corporation were transferred to them. Under an Act of 1911 they acquired control of the Corporation's Fishwharf.
Further Acts of Parliament and legislation dealt with the specific requirements of the Port, namely the Pier and Harbour Orders Act, 1922, Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Order, 1924, Great Yarmouth Haven Bridge Act 1925, Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Act 1948, Pier and Harbour Order (Great Yarmouth) Confirmation Act 1950 and Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Act 1951 which increased the number of commissioners to twenty. The North Pier was reconstructed in 1956. A repair programme was completed in 1963 which included work on the North Pier, East Quay, Haven Bridge, Skeleton Works, Brush Quay and the South Pier. New cranes were purchased on long leases the following year which had a lifting capacity of 3.5 tons. They were known colloquially as the Lord cranes after the Law Lords of the time were associated with the port industry. In 1965 a new tug was launched, named Hector Read, it replaced the Richard Lee Barber, who had replaced the George Jewson. The Commissioners' tug was traditionally called after the Port Clerk. When Trinity House ceased to be responsible for pilots around the coast after several centuries, the local operation passed to the Commissioners, who became Pilotage Authority for the port. In 1978 the Broads Authority was established and was further established with the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Act 1988. This saw the Commissioners' historic river navigation being passed to the new authority. Inland navigation was redefined to encompass Breydon Water, a stretch of river below Burgh Castle, stretch of the River Bure within the town of Great Yarmouth, and the commercial harbour of Great Yarmouth between Breydon Bridge and the harbour entrance.
The Great Yarmouth Port and Haven (Constitution) Revision Order 1984 reduced the numbers of Commissioners to fourteen and that further legislation was effected by Great Yarmouth Outer Harbour Act 1986 which provided powers to expand the port into an Outer Harbour into the North Sea adjacent to the existing port. Great Yarmouth Harbour Revision Order 1989 changed the name of the authority from the Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Commissioners to Great Yarmouth Port Authority and replaced the Commissioners with eleven Members of the Board consisting of the Chief Executive and ten others, two appointed from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, one appointed from Norfolk County Council, two appointed by General Council of British Shipping, subsequently the Chamber of Shipping, one appointed by the Royal Yachting Association after consultation with the Broads Hire Boat Federation and one appointed by Transport and General Workers' Union.
In 2003 the port of Great Yarmouth ceased to provide its own towage services and sold the tug Hector Read to a private individual. Felixarc Marine Services Ltd provided towage services at the port under a three-year contract. On the 24th May 2007, International Port Holdings (IPH) announced it had entered into agreements through which it will invest in and operate Great Yarmouth Port. Through the agreements with the Great Yarmouth Port Authority, the existing port business was transferred to an IPH subsidiary, Great Yarmouth Port Company Limited ("GYPC"). GYPC will construct a new outer harbour at Great Yarmouth which will provide enhanced port facilities to cater for larger vessels and a wider range of trades creating Britain's newest container/RoRo hub. To reflect this major investment to provide a modern multipurpose port, it is now operating under the title of EastPort UK. GYPC will carry out most of the Port Authority's statutory functions on its behalf. The only exception is the special pilotage function which operates under separate legislation and which will remain with the Port Authority until new legislation is in place.

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Biographical history

Born at Bodmin on 11 November 1816. Son of Charles Coode, solicitor and Ann, daughter of Joseph Bennett, rector of Great Wigborough, Essex. Educated at Bodmin grammar school and after leaving school entered his father's office. His natural tastes, however, were not for law but for engineering, and he was therefore articled to the civil engineer James Meadows Rendel of Plymouth. On completion of his pupillage he worked briefly with Rendel and subsequently on the new Great Western Railway line between Bristol and Exeter. Coode married, on 5 October 1842, Jane Dod, daughter of William Price of Weston-super-Mare; they had at least one son. In 1847 he was appointed resident engineer in charge of the construction of the works at Portland harbour, which had been designed by Rendel. On the death of the latter in 1856 Coode was appointed engineer-in-chief, a post he retained until the completion of the work in 1872. This harbour provided the largest area of deep water of any artificial harbour in Great Britain, and was a work of major national importance at the time, constructed partly by the use of convict labour. The first stone of the great breakwater was laid by the prince consort on 25 July 1849, and the work was completed in 1872. Coode was knighted in 1872 for his services in connection with this undertaking. In 1856, Coode had established his firm of consulting engineers which survived, with amalgamations, through three generations of his direct descendants. From 1858 he served as a member of the royal commission on harbours of refuge around Britain and Ireland. He also began to develop his overseas work.
Coode was consulted by several of the most important British colonial governments, notably by those of the South African and Australian colonies, in reference to proposed harbour works, and he made several journeys to South Africa, Australia, and India in connection with the schemes upon which his advice was sought. Following his appointment as engineer-in-chief for Table Bay harbour, work proceeded from 1859 to 1870, with the subsequent addition of a graving dock in 1882. For many years, Coode served as consulting engineer for harbours to the crown agents, leading to many appointments in the British colonies. In 1873, he reported on the harbour for Colombo; construction of this major harbour started in 1874, and the works, extended with increasing trade, were completed in 1885. In 1877 he designed the works for Port Natal, Durban; the previous year he had advised on harbour works for Mossel Bay, Knysna, and Plattenberg Bay in Cape Colony. In 1878 he recommended harbour improvements for Port Phillip, Melbourne, where ‘Coode island’ results from realignment of the River Yarra. He also advised the state of Victoria on several other harbour proposals and river improvements. He inspected major and minor harbours in New Zealand, leading to recommendations for works undertaken at Dunedin.
In 1885 Coode inspected sites for port works at Trincomali, Bombay, and Singapore, selecting the latter for a new graving dock. In the same year he gave comprehensive advice for port developments for New South Wales. He also advised on harbour proposals for St Lucia, Trinidad, Accra, Lagos, Kyrenia, Penang, Sierra Leone, Heligoland (a British colony), Newfoundland, Pondoland, Fremantle and Port Adelaide. Among the great number of other harbour works for which Coode was responsible may be mentioned Waterford harbour, and plans for the Dover commercial harbour, work for which was proceeding at the time of his death. He was a member of the royal commission on metropolitan sewage discharge (1882–4), and of the international commission of the Suez Canal; on the latter he served from 1884 until his death in 1892. He was made KCMG in 1886.
Coode was probably the most distinguished harbour engineer of the nineteenth century. He was elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1849, served for many years on the council, and was president from May 1889 to May 1891. He was also an active member of the Royal Colonial Institute, and sat on its council from 1881 until his death. Coode contributed a paper to the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1852 on the Chesil Bank (Proc. Inst. Civil Eng., 12.520), providing a cogent explanation for the physical characteristics of this long shingle feature. He also wrote many professional reports about the harbour projects he was engaged upon, and these were often published. Between 1844-47 had his own practice in Westminster as a consulting engineer, knighted in 1872, died at Brighton on 2 March 1892.

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Administrative history

Great Yarmouth Borough Council was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act of 1972.

Archival history

The 1983 deposit was collected from the former Harbour Master's house, Carrow Bridge, Norwich.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Deposited with the Great Yarmouth Borough Archives by the Clerk to the Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Commissioners in May 1966-February 1967, 21 July 1983 (numbered Y/PH 2012-2129), 1 October 1986 (numbered Y/PH 2130-2570), 13 January 1987 (numbered Y/PH 2571-2576), March 2007 (ACC 2007/449 numbered Y/PH 2577-2635) and 7 May 2008 (ACC 2008/42 numbered Y/PH 2636-2760). List amended by LP.

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Y/PH 1-79 Minutes
Y/PH 80-99 Survey Reports
Y/PH 100-124 Engineers' Reports
Y/PH 125-132 Officers' Reports
Y/PH 133-146 Letter Books
Y/PH 147-157 Acts of Parliament
Y/PH 158-169 Tide Logs
Y/PH 170-248 Financial
Y/PH 249-368 Tolls and Registration
Y/PH 369-875 Legal and Parliamentary
Y/PH 876-942 Byelaws
Y/PH 943-975 Handbills
Y/PH 976-1033 Agreements and Contracts
Y/PH 1034-1134 Correspondence and Miscellaneous
Y/PH 1135-1137 Yarmouth Corporation
Y/PH 1138-1165 Printed
Y/PH 1166-1721 Maps and Plans: Yarmouth and Breydon Water
Y/PH 1722-1780 Maps and Plans: River Bure
Y/PH 1781-1800 Maps and Plans: River Yare
Y/PH 1801-1854 Maps and Plans: River Waveney
Y/PH 1855-1912 Plans: Machinery and Installations
Y/PH 1913-1949 Plans by Consultant Engineers
Y/PH 1950-1985 Deposited Plans
Y/PH 1986-2011 Ordnance Survey Plans
Y/PH 2012-2129 Norwich River Yare Commissioners' records
Y/PH 2130-2332 Minutes
Y/PH 2333-2347 Financial and Registration
Y/PH 2348-2354 Financial and Registration River Yare
Y/PH 2355-2382 Copy letter Books
Y/PH 2383-2400 Legal and Parliamentary
Y/PH 2401-2433 Reports, Acts, Orders and Byelaws
Y/PH 2434-2551 Leases, Agreements and Correspondence
Y/PH 2552-2565 Miscellaneous
Y/PH 2566-2570 Maps and Plans
Y/PH 2571-2576 Registers, Certificates and Accounts.

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Numbers not used: Y/PH 75, 1243, 1270, 131, 1312

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Conditions governing access

The records of Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Commissioners are defined as public records within the meaning of the Public Records Act, 1958. No records less than 30 years old can be made available for public inspection without the written permission of the Clerk to the Port Authority in post at the time of the request.

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For other 18th century and 19th century papers of the Commissioners, see Y/PH, Y/L 5, Y/D 14/2, 5, 14-16, 35, 36, Y/D 39/1-18, Y/D 41/45. For harbourmaster's records, see also Y/D 66.

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