Fonds ACC 2004/196 - Thetford Borough Archive, additional records

Reference code

ACC 2004/196


Thetford Borough Archive, additional records


  • c 1290-1974 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

213 boxes and 34 volumes

Name of creator


Administrative history

Thetford was important in Iron Age times, and we know that an extensive early Saxon settlement was established on the Suffolk side of the River Ouse by the 6th C. The northern side of the river was probably colonised as a burgh in the 10th C. and swiftly grew in size and importance until, by 1086, it was the 6th largest town in England.

Although a thriving borough with several hundred burgesses, it was governed by a reeve, directly appointed by the Crown. Thetford had to wait until 1574 before being awarded a royal charter of incorporation. This was later withdrawn and replaced with a new charter in 1682.
Unfortunately, there are almost no records of the borough surviving from before 1574.
The charter of 1574, established a mayor, 24 aldermen, 20 common councilmen, a recorder, a sword-bearer and 2 serjeants at arms, the mayor, aldermen and councillors being elected by the burgesses or freemen of the borough. However, over the course of the 18th century, the establishment became increasingly unrepresentative of its population, and by the early 19th century, was infamous for being a ‘rotten borough’. The Municipal Reform Act of 1835 reformed and changed the structure of the borough to that of a borough and town council with a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Later, under the 1858 Local Government Act, Thetford Borough Council assumed the function of the Local Board of Health and held quarterly and special meetings in this capacity. The 1872 Public Health Act abolished Local Boards of Health and replaced with Urban Sanitary Authorities (which were often still known as Local Boards) so Thetford Borough Council automatically took on the function of an Urban Sanitary Authority. These were in turn abolished by legislation in 1894 and Urban District Councils established in their place. Thetford was then designated a Municipal Borough but seems for some reason to have decided to act as an Urban District Council. It remained, however, a Municipal Borough until abolition of almost all municipal boroughs in 1974. Thereafter, Thetford was represented by a 'town council', really an urban version of a parish council, and fell under the area administered by Breckland District Council.
Since 1918, the Thetford Borough has been solely in the administrative county of Norfolk, though previous to that date, the part south of the Little Ouse River was in Suffolk. In 1924, Thetford's three ecclesiastical parishes (St Peter's, St Cuthbert's and St Mary's) were united for civil purposes into one civil parish.

In 1935, the principal committees were the Finance and General Purposes Committee (responsible for reviewing expenditure, examining presented bills and recommending to Council to levy rates), the Public Health and Highways Committee (which reviewed reports from the Medical Officer of Health and from the Sanitary Inspector, and which was also responsible for the management of the Council's housing estates), Waterworks Committee (responsible for the water supply to the town), Rating Committee (responsible for collecting rates and water rents and considered appeals for reduction in payments), Valuation Committee (decided the gross value for rating purposes of every rateable property in Thetford), Guildhall Committee (responsible for the administration, maintenance, repair and hire of the building and its contents), Fire Brigade Committee (the administration and costs of the fire-fighting service, its men and equipment), Museum and Art Gallery Committee (responsible for the Ancient House Museum and the portrait gallery at the Guildhall, for accepting or rejecting gifts towards the collections), Recreation and Bath Committees (responsible respectively for the management of the recreation ground and the Common and overseeing sports clubs using the town's facilities, and for the schools using the open-air swimming bath at Nun's Common), and the Navigation Committee (by 1935, almost moribund, reflecting the reduced use of the River Ouse).

In 1902, the principal rates were the District Rate, levied by the Town Council acting as a sanitary authority, and from which monies the roads and waterworks were maintained, and the Poor Rate, which was actually a combination of the Poor Rates levied by the Guardians along with the School Board Rate, the Borough Rate and the County Rate. The Rating and Valuation Act of 1925 brought about the unification of the funds and accounts of many boroughs, including those of Thetford. Since 1 Apr 1929 Thetford's Borough Fund ceased to exist and thereafter its principal account before 1973 was the General Rate Fund Account.

Thetford's waterworks were established in 1876. Thetford's first council housing estate, initially called the, 'Corporation Dwellings Estate' comprised 50 houses erected in c 1912 onwards on the Bury Road. This was followed a few years later by the laying-out of a larger estate of 72 houses, called the 'Newtown Estate' on the London Road.
Planning for an expansion of the town, in partnership with London County Council, began in 1956, and in Feb 1957, the Borough agreed to accept 5000 Londoners, to build new housing estates and industrial parks to accommodate them, and in May, the London County Council approved the town development plan. By June 1959, the first Londoners arrived, and in 1960, the Borough agreed to take up to 10,000 incomers from London. By November 1962, over 31 new firms had relocated to Thetford and by January 1966, the town's population had reached 10,000 with almost 50 new firms then working in the town.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Scope and content

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Accessions ACC 2004/196 and ACC 2004/207 are intermixed. In part, the records listed more fully here were partly catalogued in earlier years and given T/TC references, but lost their labels prior to deposit and were later received as new records. Others are additional to those already listed and are currently uncatalogued. There are currently 204 archival boxes and several large format volumes (mainly rate books /valuation lists) for the years, 1928-1947 and 1951-1964 identified under the ACC 2004/1296 and 207 references. Title deeds to town council properties are listed under Boxes 55-62 and 137. The first 18 boxes have been box-listed as found, below:
• Abstracts of account, 1952-1959 (1 bundle)
• Printed quarterly reports of the Town Council, Feb 1939-Nov 1941 (1 bundle)
• Correspondence and circulars re Local Govt Act 1929, 1929-1937 (1 file)
• Printed Rate Estimate, 1964 (1 booklet)
• ‘The Work of the Norfolk Education Committee 1903-1910’ by F H Millington, pub. March 1910. (1 booklet)
• Photostat copies of the Town Hall ground-floor (part only) (2 papers)
• Plan of Cemetery Plot A, showing number grave spaces, nd [20th C] (1 paper)
• Published copy of Thetford street map, 1973
• File of Govt circulars and printed orders, 1911-1930
• Correspondence re Brandon Bridge, with copies of a report and a photograph of the bridge, 1920-1922 (1 file)
• NCC Fore Services Act 1947-copy of establishment scheme, Dec 1947 (1 file)
• Abstracts of account (with some separate Rate Estimates), years ending March 1960-1967, rates only 1968-1971 and abstract of annual budget, 1972-3, 1973-4 (typescript copies-1 bundle)
• File of Non-County Boroughs Association correspondence re Royal Commission on Local Govt. 1927-1942 with copy minutes of evidence taken before the Commission 16 June 1927
• Borough Treasurer’s abstract of the Borough’s capital programme to 1972 (1 file)
• Guildhall extension, plan of seating layout No 1, scale 1in/4ft Feb 1968 (1 paper)
• Election of elective auditors 1935-1955 (1 bundle)
• Nomination forms 1935-6, 1937, 1938, 1943, 1948, 1950, and 1955.
• Rules for election of aldermen 1932 (amended Jan 1933) (2 papers)
• Appointment of the mayor’s auditor, 1943-5
• List of street-light locations pre-war (5 Dec 1918) (1 booklet)
• ‘Pioneer of Two Worlds- Thomas Paine, by Chapman Cohen (printed pamphlet)
• Water charges-legal position (1 file) 1912-15
• Register of electors, St Cuthbert’s Ward nd [?pre 1910]
• Misc. printed government circulars and pamphlets, 1923-73 (1 bundle)
• Estimate for general rate (27 March 1950) (1 file)
• Photo of a comic cartoon re the members of the Thetford school board 1884 (1 card)
• Printed abstract of accounts 1924-5 (2), 1925-6 (2), 1926-7 (3), 1927-8 (2), 1928-9 (2), 1929-30 (2), 1930-1 (2), 1931-2 (2), 1932-3 (2), 1933-4 (2), 1934-5 (2), 1935-6 (2), , 1936-7 (2), 1937-8 (2), 1938-9 (2), 1939-40 (2), 1940-1 (2), 1941-2 (2), 1942-3 (1), 1943-4 (3), 1944-5 (4), 1945-6 (2), 1946-7 (4), 1947-8 (4), 1948-9 (4), 1949-50 (4), 1950-1 (1), 1951-2 (2), 1952-3 (3), 1953-4 (1) and 1957-8 (1). (1 bundle-duplicates to be weeded out)
• Brochure-Park Court Old People’s housing, East Harling, 1972 and invite to opening
• Typescript list of Thetford mayors 1272-1962 with letter from O K Schram acknowledging receipt, 1962 (1 file)
• Bundle of electoral registers and printed instructions from presiding officers, 1921-24
• Correspondence re East Anglian Electricity Act 1927 and Thetford LT Distribution Scheme (1 file)
• Norfolk Arch Soc Vol XXXIV part 1 (published)
• Red Castle building estate, with plan based on OS base-plan, 1927-33 (1 file)
• Board of Trade rebuilding of 2nd Staunch 3 May 1909 (with list of subscriptions received and photos of the River Ouse at Thetford-printed) (1 paper)
• Correspondence re election of the mayor and aldermen, 1882 (1 bundle)
• Printed circular from Ministry of Health re water supplies, 1934 (1 paper)
• Printed mayoral petition re removal of the Lent Assizes from Thetford to Norwich, nd [c 1830] (1 leaflet)
• Correspondence and papers re consolidation of the three Thetford parishes, 1921-22 (typescript and printed) (1 bundle)
• Tenders for the Thetford Gas Co. Ltd for lighting of public lamps, 1923-33 (1 bundle)
• Regulations re Corporation waterworks, with scale of charges (printed x4), 1912
• Appointments and oaths of the deputy mayors, c 1926-1970 (1 bundle)
• Election of auditors, notices and papers, 1928, 1952. (1 file)
• File of deeds and papers re Carley’s Almshouses, Bury Road, Thetford; Trustees of Municipal and United Charities, with foundation and endowment deed, 1897, 1897-1957
• File of deeds and papers re Harbord’s Almshouses, Magdalen St, Thetford, 1957-58
• File of deeds and papers re Tyrrell’s Almshouses, Croxton Road, Thetford, 1886-1955
• Deeds of King’s House, with 1871 conveyance including a marginal plan and 1922 conveyance including a plan of the house and grounds, 1859-1922, and deeds of an additional garden ground near St Giles’ Lane with sale particulars and poster 1927
• British Rail Site on Mundford Road, allotment tenancy agreements, 1984-86, with correspondence, 1970, 1973 and plans of allotments (1 file)
• File of allotment tenancy agreements, Mundford Road, 1975-1989
• Edinburgh Way allotment agreements, 1984-87 (1 file)
• Icknield Way and Newton allotment agreements, 1973-1989 (1 file)
• Magdalen Street allotment agreements, 1977-1988 (1 file)
• Correspondence re appropriation of land at Bury Road and London Road, March 1970 (2 files)
• Newspapers in re Morocco leather covered folder with T. Houchen’s name on one cover: Norfolk Chronicle and Norwich Gazette, issues from: Aug 1793, Jan 1820, Aug 1823, Dec 1827, Feb, Mar 1829, and John Bull 4 Dec 1831, St James’s Chronicle of British Evening Post 9-11 Nov 1790
• Drawn and printed copies of the borough seal design (1 file)
• Copies of the inspeximus/exemplification of the borough charter of Thetford, 1821 and 1837 (2 files)
• Two metal seal matrices, nor originals
All the below inc. bills of quantities, plans and elevations and agreements:
• Contracts for erection of ten houses, Bury Road, Thetford, with plan 1952 (1 bundle)
• Contracts for erection of 52 Wates type houses on the same site, 1952-3 (1 bundle)
• Contracts for two shops, two houses, two flats on the Bury Road No 1 site, 1952-1954 (1 bundle)
• Tender for 8 dwellings for No 2 housing site on Bury Road (1 bundle)
• Final account for 26 houses for the Thetford Housing Estate, London Road, 1948-1950 (1 bundle)
BOX 10
• Misc. agreements, photostatic copies of the Crown Estate Commissioners’ leases to various tenants, 1938-1961 (1 large bundle)
• Published strip road map showing the road from King’s Lynn to Harwich, probably from an 18th C road atlas (1 mounted paper)
• Correspondence, circulars, reports, with the Local Government Board re Dr J Spencer-Lowe’s report re the town sewage outfall, 1907-1909 (1 file)
BOX 11
• Photo (colour prints 9x9in) albums re thew visit of HRH Prince Charles to Thetford, 1999 (4 albums)
• Various flyers for the Thetford 800 Celebrations Historic Weekend and a military band concert, 1999 (4 papers)
• Envelope of 8 colour photographic prints of the Duleep Singh monument
BOX 12
• Thetford Borough Surveyor’s wet-copy letter book, 1933-1936 (1 volume)
• Thetford Museum visitors’ book, Dec 1924-May 1933 (1 volume)
BOX 13
All signed minutes:
• Unemployment committee minutes, Feb 1930-Sep 1932 (1 vol)
• General Purposes Committee minutes, May 1935-Dec 1945 (1 vol)
• Air Raid Precautions Committee minutes, Sep 1938-Oct 1941, Staff Committee minutes, Apr 1940-May 1950 (1 vol)
• Sanitary, then later, Public Health and Highways Committee minutes, Oct 1912-Jun 1933 (1 vol)
• Public Health and Highways committee minutes, Dec 1937-Sep 1942 (1 vol)
• Public Health and Highways committee minutes, Jul 1933-Nov 1937 (1 vol)
BOX 14
• Letter book (wet-copy and indexed at front), Borough Surveyor, Mar 1936-Jun 1939 (1 vol)
• Letter book (wet-copy and indexed at front), Borough Surveyor, Jun 1939-Dec 1941 (1 vol)
BOX 15
• Printed reports of Boundary Commission, 1832, 1837, 1868 and 1888 with plans of the parliamentary, parish and township boundaries (1 file)
• Correspondence re Sir Richard Fulmodeston, 1930 -1934(1 envelope)
• Copies of a printed leaflet from the London County Council, ‘An Opportunity for Industry-Thetford’, nd [early 1960s?] x6 copies
• Quarterly printed reports of Town Council, Nov 1869, Feb 1871, Feb 1872, Aug 1872, May 1873, May 1878, Aug 1889, Feb 1890, Aug 1893 and Aug 1899 (10 pamphlets)
• Sewerage and sewage disposal-reports by Elliott and Brown, civil engineers, Jun 1944 (typescript)
• Valuation schedule of the Thetford portraits, a gift by HH Prince Frederick Duleep-Singh, bound typescript, nd [?1950s] (1 vol)
• Borough rate estimates, year-ending Mar 1968 , bound typescript (1 booklet)
• Assessment Committee proceedings, 1925-1946 (1 file)
• Correspondence re the Non-county Boroughs Association, Oct 1930-Apr 1938 (1 file)
• Great Ouse Catchment Board correspondence re Little Ouse navigation, Oct 1936-Oct 1938
• (1 file)
• Ministry of Trade Department Committee on Street Lighting-to lighting authorities, Apr 1936
• Poster and nomination forms for election of auditors, 1949 (1 bundle)
• Printed copy of census for E and W (Norfolk), parts 1 and 2, 1931 (2 booklets)
• Printed statement re proposed sewerage scheme in Thetford, 1909 (1 file)
BOX 16
• Correspondence and govt. circulars re rating assessments after the 1925 Act, c 1926-1946 (1 file)
• Typescript letter inviting G R Blaydon to the Nation Association of Local Govt Officers re an education scheme, 3 Oct 1936-1937, with typed draft address by Blaydon, ‘The Tradition of the Local Government Service’ (2 papers)
• Files of papers re Thetford Housing, 1928-1947 (2 files)
• Papers re Air Raid precautions, with applications for auxiliary firemen, 1937 (1 envelope)
• Claims arising from Agricultural Rates Act 1923, 1923-1930 (1 file)
BOX 17
• Thetford Municipal Borough tree preservation order, no 1, with plan of the town, 1964-1965 (typescript)
• History of Thetford District Nursing Committee, typed notes including minutes (1913-1952, 1953-58) and letter from Dr T L Oliver re cessation of committee, Mar 1958 and minutes of the annual meeting (the start of the committee), 18=913 (2 volumes and loose papers)
• Printed OS map of England and Wales ’Administrative Areas’(10m/1in) sheet 2 marked to show administrative areas and county boundaries, boroughs, cities, municipal boroughs, UDCs, RDCs and Metropolitan Police Districts, nd (1 plan)
• Plans and papers with list of buildings of historical and architectural interest, 1951-1972 (1 bundle)
• Thetford Conservation Area, with plans and photos of street scenes, draft copy, 1973 (1 vol)
• Thetford comprehensive development area plan by county planning officer, RI Maxwell (1 plan) nd [c 1973] (1 paper)
• Borough burial authority agreement with WL Rickwood and letter from commissioners for Crown lands, 1932, 1937 (1 envelope)
• Easter Electricity Board wayleave agreement, for poles, Bury Road to London Road, Thetford, 31 Oct 1949 (1 envelope)
• 4 photos of traction engines by Charles Burrell and W Boughton and Sons Ltd, with sheet showing medals awarded to Burrells and Boughton’s factory in Thetford (1 envelope)
BOX 18
• Copy of enclosure award and plan of St Peter’s and St Cuthbert ‘s and St Mary’s parishes in Thetford, (1806), 20th C copy (1 plan)
• Typescript catalogue of architectural collections in the Ancient House Museum, 1950 (1file)
• Printed burgess rolls 1858, 1886 and printed quarterly reports, 1836-1878. (1 file)

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Alternative identifier(s)

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places