The records of Southampton City Council and predecessor local authorities are held in the Archives and date from 1199 onwards. These constitute an excellent series of documents, particularly for the 15th to 17th centuries, reflecting all aspects of local authority business. If you wish to come and use these documents please contact the service.

The documents fall into three types:

Southampton corporation records

  • Town Administration: charters from the 12th century onwards; minutes from the 14th century to date (including those of committees); admissions of burgesses and freemen from the 15th century onwards; electoral rolls from 1834 to date; local acts and byelaws; Town Clerk's papers 16th century to 20th century
  • Property records: Corporation deeds and leases 1275 to 1900; registers of Corporation properties from 15th century onwards
  • Finance and trade: town stewards`, mayors` and treasurers` account books from the 15th century to the 20th century; books of debts 1525 to 1619; petty customs account books 1426 to 1803; brokage books 1430 to 1566; Cloth Hall, Linen Hall and Weigh House books 15th century to 1601
  • Justice: court leet 1549 to date; town court 1374 to 1833; admiralty court 1488 to 1827; Quarter Sessions (rolls and papers 1622 to 1970, examination books 1571 to 1698, licensing 1698 to 1753 and 1833-1834)
  • Poor Relief: rates 1552 to 1614; charities to 1837; settlements 1711 to 1901
  • Military: defence terrier 1454; muster books 1522 to 1589; militia 1820 to 1860
  • Parliamentary Taxes: various tax assessments (eg ship, hearth tax) 1523 to 1699 and 1711 to 1855.

Records of Local Boards, commissioners and companies

  • Pavement and Improvement Commissioners (paving, repairing and cleansing the streets): minutes 1770 to 1848; rate books 1771 to 1836
  • Southampton Board of Health (and later, Health Department): minutes 1850 to 1974
  • Shirley Board of Health: minutes 1853 to 1895
  • Board of Guardians: minutes 1823 to 1930; workhouse; settlement records 1730 to 1917; rate books c.1750 to 1910
  • Waterworks (including South Hants Waterworks): minutes 1799 to 1850; rate books 1748 to 1763; Acts, deeds and accounts from c.1870 onwards
  • Southampton School Board: minutes 1850 to 1903; records of individual schools
  • St Mary Extra School Board: minutes 1890 to 1898
  • Hound and Sholing School Board: minutes 1885 to 1898
  • Itchen Urban District: minutes 1898 to 1920; accounts; rates 1914 to 1920
  • Bitterne Parish Council: minutes 1894 to 1920
  • Millbrook Parish Council: minutes 1894 to 1954; accounts
  • North Stoneham Parish: poor rates 1835 to 1920
  • South Stoneham Parish: poor rates 1839 to 1916
  • Northam Bridge Company: minutes 1838 to 1930; deeds; accounts
  • Floating Bridge Company: minutes 1833 to 1933; mortgage deeds and agreements

Records of Southampton council departments

Records of Southampton council departments are held in the archives. It should be remembered that many of the records in these categories are subject to closure periods. Some of the more substantial departmental records are:
  • Architect: plans, files, photographs, records of war damage
  • Building Control: plans and registers 19th century to 20th century
  • Education: minutes from 1903 onwards; records of individual schools
  • Engineer: plans, files, photographs
  • Fire Brigade: occurrence books from 1884 to 1954; ambulance registers 1913 to 1939
  • Magistrates Court: registers from 1909; licensing records from 1900
  • Motor Taxation: declaration forms and index cards
  • Police Force: minutes from 1902; Chief Constable`s records; personnel including registers of service 1861 to 1966; records of occurrence 1923 to 1960s; charge registers 1893 to 1960s; committals to Quarter Sessions and Assizes 1876 to 1942; hackney carriages; brewster sessions; war emergency
  • Treasurers: accounts; rates; committee minutes and agendas