Limerick Waterworks Company, 1833-1883

Reference code: IE LA P9

Extent: 11 Items

Scope & Content

The Limerick Waterworks Company collection consists of records dating from 1833 to 1883. It includes records relating to purchase of land by Limerick Waterworks (P9/1-3); account books (P9/5), water rental books (P9/7); correspondence book (P9/8), and a file relating to the sale of the company to Limerick Corporation (P9/11).


Limerick Waterworks Company


Limerick Waterworks Company

Biographical / Historical Note

The first scheme to bring a supply of piped water toLimerickbegun in 1834. Prior to this water requirements were met from wells, streams, or the riverShannon. Such resources of supply were liable to contamination and would give rise to outbreaks of water-borne disease such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery.

In June 1825 R. Leadbetter, an engineer, made an estimate of £43, 000 for supplying the Limerick citizens with piped water, by providing a pumped supply from Shannon at Rhebogue to a reservoir to be constructed at Cromwell’s Fort, Gallows Hill (now Garryowen). This scheme was sanction by Act of Parliament in 1825, however actual construction did not commence until 1834.

In 1834, London Waterworks Company (later renamed Limerick Waterworks Company) built two tanks at Cromwell’s Fort, Garryowen. To supply these tanks, a pumping plant was built at Rhebogue, about 1½ miles upstream fromThomondBridge, which extracted water from theShannon. The water then passed through a settling tank and a rough sand filter, before it was pumped to the tanks at Garryowen.  Two steam engines were used to raise the water to Garryowen. This plant was used until 1921.

In 1859, as the city only had a supply of water every alternate day, R. W. Ryland was called in to advise on a further extension of existing works which was completed in 1863. It consisted of a storage reservoir on the Ennis road, served from the Garryowen reservoir.

In 1879 Dr. T O’ Sullivan reported that the public supply was both inferior and inadequate, and a movement was begun to get an improved supply. A number of proposals were made by various consulting engineers, none of which were taken any further.

Article 60 and Article 61 of the 1853 Limerick Improvement Act had authorized Limerick Corporation to purchase both the water company and the gas company. However Limerick Corporation did not purchase the water company until 1885. The Limerick Waterworks Act was passed in 1883 to facilitate the purchase.

Adminstrative Information

Access Restrictions: N.A.

Use Restrictions: N.A.

Related Materials: 

Limerick Corporation Water Works collection (L/WW/) should be consulted for researchers interested in water supply system of Limerick from 1883 onwards, and for post 1934 records should consult collection L/WS         Limerick City Council Water and Sewage

Researchers interested in the estate of Reverend Richard Moore, Rhebogue should note that Limerick Archives also holds a copy of the Rentals and Particulars of Sale of his estate, dated 1887 (P/SC/11).

Collection Content

Water Rental Book (1835-1840)
   P9/7. 20 June 1835-25 March 1840 (DjVu - 10.4 Mb)
    Water Rental book with lists of inhabitants taking water from Limerick waterworks (20 June 1830-20 February 1839), and returns of quarterly rents, and arrears due to the company (December 1836-March 1840). List of the inhabitants is arranged under the headings 'date of order', 'name', 'place' or 'street', 'value of premises', 'annual charges' and 'remarks'. Remarks includes comments such as 'discount from December 1837' and 'agreement with drawn'. The rental returns is arranged chronologically per quarter, and records the name of customer, place, rent due, arrears due, and total of rent and arrears, and 'remarks' such as 'cut off for non payment' and 'insolvent'.
Extent: c. 90ff
Access Rules: N.A.

Correspondence (1847-1848)
   P9/8. 6 March 1847-[] March 1848 (DjVu - 11.6 Mb)
    Letter book with handwritten copies of correspondence mainly between Captain Robert Kane(Limerick Water Works Company Agent), and Fredrick Harbridge(Committee of management of Limerick Water Works Company). Topics include laying of pipes to supply Limerick Union workhouse with water; rentals and arrears of various customers; operation of steam engine pumps; appointment of J. G Cagaly as Kane's successor as agent, engineer, and collector for Limerick Water Works.
Extent: c. 120pp
Access Rules: N.A.

Last update:16/06/2011