Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Water Pollution Research Board

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1927 The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research set up the Water Pollution Research Board, mainly as a result of representations by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, which were becoming increasingly concerned with the problems of river pollution and its adverse effect on the supply of pure water for a growing population and industry.

The terms of reference of the Board were to submit plans for research on the prevention of pollution and on the purity of water supplies, and to supervise the execution of approved investigations. Initially, the board sponsored research in the Universities as it did not have its own laboratories; it maintained small teams of workers to deal with special local problems.

1938 the board recommended the creation of a central station adequately equipped to investigate the problems of water pollution. Plans for a new laboratory at Garston alongside the Building Research Station were approved in 1939 but abandoned on the outbreak of war. Instead temporary premises were found at a house in Watford and huts at the Building Research Station; other sections worked at Birmingham from 1938 and Coventry from 1947.

1954 These various elements were replaced by a new central Water Pollution Research Laboratory at Stevenage.

1965 the laboratory passed to the Ministry of Technology, and the research board was replaced by a Water Pollution Research Laboratory Steering Committee.

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Sources of Information

  • National Archives [1]