The Metropolitan Commission of Sewers was an ad hoc body formed in 1849 to bring London's sewerage and drainage under the control of a single public body.


The Commission was formed by the Metropolitan Commission of Sewers Act 1848 (11 & 12 Vict. c. 112), coming into existence on 1 January 1849. It replaced eight existing boards of commissioners:

  • Tower Hamlets Commissioners for Sewers Archives [1]
  • St Katharine's Commissioners for Sewers Archives [2]
  • Poplar and Blackwall Commissioners for Sewers Archives [3]
  • Holborn and Finsbury Commissioners for Sewers Archives [4]
  • Commissioners for Sewers for Westminster and part of Middlesex Archives [5]
  • Surrey and Kent Commissioners for Sewers [6]
  • Greenwich Commissioners for Sewers [7]
  • Commissioners for Regent's Park

The creation of a single commission was the logical culmination of a process begun in 1842, when parliament had passed legislation appointing the same 23 persons to be the commissioners for each of the eight boards.

The term of office of the commissioners was two years unless a new commission was issued.

The Commission was based in 1 Greek Street - which was occupied for a while by the successor body, the Metropolitan Board of Works. Inter alia it employed Joseph Bazalgette


First Commission (1849)Edit

The first commission was appointed on 1 January 1849, and under the 1848 legislation was to consist of the Lord Mayor of London for the time being, four members elected by the Corporation of London with the remainder of the commissioners appointed by the Crown.

Commissioners (43):

City Members:

Second Commission (1849 - 1851)Edit

A second commission was issued on 8 October 1849. This reduced the number of commissioners appointed by the Crown from forty-three to thirteen.


City Members:

Third Commission (1851 - 1852)Edit

A third commission was appointed on 6 October 1851. Legislation passed earlier in the year gave the government the power to appoint a chairman and deputy chairman as well as commissioners.

Commissioners (12)

City Members:

Fourth Commission (1852 - 1854)Edit

Commissioners (12)

  • Chairman: Richard Jebb
  • Sir John Fox Burgoyne
  • Major Robert Kearsley Dawson
  • Captain James Vetch
  • Sir Charles Fellows
  • George Baker
  • Thomas F Gibson
  • Lewis Dunbar Brodie Gordon
  • John Hawkshaw
  • William Hosking
  • Henry A Hunt
  • Laurence Redhead
  • George Spencer Smith
  • Thomas Hawes

City Members:

Fifth Commission (1854 - 1856)Edit

The final commission was appointed on 22 November 1854. The chairman and seven commissioners were appointed by the Crown, one was appointed jointly by the vestries of the parishes of Chelsea and Kensington, and one was appointed by the vestries in each of seven parliamentary boroughs.


City Members:

Headquarters and officesEdit

Chief Office 1 Greek Street, Soho, hours 10-4.

District Offices

These varied over the course of the MCS's existence, but included:


In 1856 the commission was replaced by the Metropolitan Board of Works, which made use of the Greek Street offices, and a number of its staff, most notably Joseph Bazalgette.


  1. 1794-1897, a member of the Vestry of St George Hanover SquareDavid Edward Owen; Roy M MacLeod (1982). The Government of Victorian London, 1855-1889: The Metropolitan Board of Works, the Vestries, and the City Corporation. Harvard University Press. p. 373. ISBN 9780674358850. 
  2. 1784-1870, sometime secretary of the Geological Society The Correspondence of Charles Darwin: 1847-1850. Cambridge University Press. 1985. p. 158. ISBN 9780521255905.  Cherry Lewis; Simon J Knell (2009). The Making of the Geological Society of London. Geological Society of London. p. 343. ISBN 9781862392779. 
  3. Southampton born barrister, 1807-67. Biography here: Bullar Family. Sotonpedia.

External linksEdit

  • The National Archives page is [8] - contains reference to the MCS's archives' locations etc.
  • Report on the John Snow website [10]