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The Great Sheffield Flood 1864 Sheffield Archives and Local Studies: History Key Stage 2 Unit 7 (Local History Study – How the locality was affected by.

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Presentation on theme: "The Great Sheffield Flood 1864 Sheffield Archives and Local Studies: History Key Stage 2 Unit 7 (Local History Study – How the locality was affected by."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Great Sheffield Flood 1864 Sheffield Archives and Local Studies: History Key Stage 2 Unit 7 (Local History Study – How the locality was affected by a significant local event)

2 Sheffield in the 1800s Look at this picture showing Sheffield in the 1800s. Why do you think people might have wanted to get water from outside the town centre? Dirty water in polluted, overcrowded towns like Sheffield was a problem. A disease called cholera (spread by dirty water) killed over 400 people alone in Sheffield in Sheffield Waterworks Company was set up in 1830 to provide Sheffield with clean, unpolluted water from outside the town. General view of Sheffield from the station, 1800s (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s11478)

3 The Dale Dyke Reservoir As Sheffield grew in size, in order to cope with the demand for clean, disease-free water, Sheffield Waterworks Company built a series of reservoirs (large pools where water is collected and stored) in the Loxley Valley in the hills around Bradfield. One of these reservoirs was Dale Dyke Reservoir (also known at the time as Bradfield Reservoir) built between 1859 and Sheffield Waterworks plan showing the intended Dale Dyke Reservoir, 1852 (Sheffield Archives: YWA/10/1/2) View of Dale Dyke Reservoir, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: t01546)

4 The Bursting of the Dale Dyke Dam During severe storms on the night of 11th March 1864 part of the wall of the reservoir dam (the barrier holding back the water) collapsed. A workman had spotted a crack in the dam wall earlier in the day and the Sheffield Waterworks Company Senior Engineer, John Gunson, was called out to investigate. Some local people heard about the crack in the dam and got ready to leave their homes, fearing a flood, but most people in the area had no idea about the problem with the dam wall. Before John Gunson realised how serious the problem was (and could send out an official warning) the dam burst. This sent water gushing in a 30 foot high wave down the Loxley Valley, sweeping away trees, bridges, buildings and people as they slept in in their beds. The Sheffied Flood was the biggest disaster to hit Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901). Picture of the bursting of Dale Dyke Dam, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s00972)

5 Path of the Flood The red arrow on the left shows the route of the flood: from Loxley to Malin Bridge (where the worst damage was caused) through Hillsborough (where the flood met the river Don) and down through the Wicker into Sheffield town centre. The water was still 6 feet high at Lady’s Bridge at the Wicker. Can you spot the person in the water in the picture on the left? View of flood water racing through the Wicker, 1864 [reproduced in The Collapse of the Dale Dyke Dam by G. Amey] (Sheffield Archives: AME/LOCAL) Plan of the Loxley Valley showing areas affected by the Sheffield Flood of 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: u01724)

6 Damage and Destruction Scene of a garden at Hillsborough after the flood, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: MD8058) 39 houses were completely destroyed in the flood along with 17 workshops/warehouses, 4 mills, 3 shops and 2 pubs/inns. Hundreds more buildings were partly destroyed. Over 4000 houses were flooded. Photograph of Wisewood Rolling Mill building destroyed in the flood, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: t00156)

7 Photograph showing remains of housing at Malin Bridge, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: t01739) Picture of damaged houses on Brick Row, Hillsborough, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s00580 ) Photograph of ruins at Owlerton, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s00961) Site of the Stag Inn, Sheffield (only the cellars remained after the flood), 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: t00162)

8 What do you think people are doing in these pictures? Scene of flood damage at Malin Bridge, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: MD8058) Picture of ruins of the Cleakum Inn, Malin Bridge, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s00976)

9 Reporting the News ‘We have to narrate this morning one of the most terrific calamities that has ever visited this part of the country…houses have been washed down, streets have been turned in to rivers…some have been swept down in the streets and drowned, some have died in rooms that were for the moment turned into miniature reservoirs, full from ceiling to floor of water…’ Sheffield Telegraph Newspaper, 12 th March 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Newspaper Collection) ‘It was our painful duty to record on Saturday that a frightful flood had been caused by the bursting of the embankment of the new reservoir of the Sheffield Waterworks Company at Bradfield…Down to Malin Bridge about two miles from Sheffield, the water was hemmed in by the steep sides of the valley… Above Malin Bridge everything in the way of the flood was clean swept away…’ Sheffield Independent Newspaper, 14 th March 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Newspaper Collection)

10 Juliana Gatty’s Diary, 12 th March 1864 (Sheffield Archives: HAS41/9) “Terrible news of a great flood in the Don Valley. The New Reservoir at Bradfield has burst & the water tearing down to Sheffield has swept off everything in its course. Lower Bradfield entirely gone but one house. The Barrack wall washed down. The Wicker 5 foot in water & bodies washed into the Midland Station. The water rose above the Lady Bridge.... Poor June in great anxiety about her brother....” Look at the extracts from Juliana Gatty’s diary written just after the flood (use the transcript on the right to help you!) Which unusual place does Juliana say dead bodies were washed into? The Midland Station (Sheffield’s Railway Station) was located in the Wicker in 1864 rather than its present location. How many bodies does Juliana report as being found in the Sheffield Workhouse?

11 Death and Escape Photograph of Henry Whittles’ ruined house at Hill Bridge, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s10953) How did Henry Whittles manage to save his wife and five children from drowning in the house pictured above? ‘‘I was awoke by the flood breaking open the doors and windows. I thought at first it was someone breaking in to rob the house. I jumped out of bed, and set off to go downstairs. The first step I took was in the water. I ran back, took my wife out of bed, and also the two children who were in the same bed. One of the children was only nine days old. When I had taken them out of bed, the outside walls of the house went directly, and the bed on which my wife and children had been lying was swept away. Another little boy, two years old, I snatched from the bed, just as it was going down, and flung him over my head into another corner of the chamber, which hung by a piece of the wall, and where there was a mattress.” “The whole house was then swept away, except the corner on which I had placed my wife and children, on the little bed. The corner stood, and I held them there a long time. They were covered with water…The water tore my shirt off my back…I held my wife and children on the mattress in the corner for more than an hour. While I was holding them, I saw two persons float past in the water, so near to me that I could have touched them both; but if I had attempted to do so I should have lost my wife and children, as they were only kept where they were by my holding on to them. The water smelt awful, like a grave that had been newly opened...’’ Henry Whittles’ account from Harrison’s History of the Sheffield Flood, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: HAR/LOCAL)

12 Mrs Kirk of Damflask was one of the lucky few who heard about warnings about the crack in the dam wall and got ready to leave her house before the flood struck. She had a very narrow escape after risking her life to return to the house just before it was swept away in the flood. Why did she return to the house? ‘Mrs Kirk had gone to bed, but got up at once when the warning was given, and hurried out of the house and across the bridge, with nothing on but her night dress. At this moment, she remembered that her cat and dog, both favourite animals, were in the house. She went back to fetch them, and returned across the bridge with the cat under one arm and the dog under the other. She had not been out of the house more than a minute or two when the house and bridge were swept away.’ Account from Harrison’s History of the Sheffield Flood, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: HAR/LOCAL) Photograph of Mrs Kirk of Damflask with her dog and cat, who all survived the flood despite her house being swept away, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s08752)

13 According to the account on the right, how did the 8 year old girl who was inside the ruined pub (shown in the picture) on the night of the flood manage to survive when everyone else drowned? ‘At Hill Bridge, was the Free Masons’ Arms Public House, kept by William Pickering. The house was almost destroyed… and all the furniture swept away. In the house, at the time of the flood, besides Pickering himself, were his wife, his sister, a lodger, and a little girl, a niece, eight years of age. All were drowned, except the little girl. She slept by herself in a bed in a chamber on the top storey of the house, higher than the line to which the water rose. When the neighbours went to the house on the morning after the flood, they found that nearly everything had been swept away; but on going to the upper chamber they were astonished to find the little girl in bed and fast asleep. They awoke her, and took her to a place of safety. The house was swept away except a little corner on which the girl’s bed stood.’ Account from Harrison’s History of the Sheffield Flood, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: HAR/LOCAL) View of demolished Hill Bridge, Walkley Lane, Hillsborough, showing the ruins of the Free Masons Inn on the left 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s00909)

14 How do you think this man, Joseph Chapman, from Hillsborough, whose house was destroyed in the flood, managed to survive? Joseph climbed into the box and was kept afloat and safe whilst his house and his possessions were swept away. Joseph Chapman, a tailor from Hillsborough (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s08751)

15 ‘In a house at Hill Bridge, lived Robert Graham, his wife, and six children. They were awoken by the water breaking into their bedroom…in a few minutes a brick wall of the house fell upon them, and knocked them down into the water. Robert Graham…managed to get his wife and children out of the water, and place them all upon a bed…The water raised the bed off the floor and floated it about. Graham had great difficulty in preventing his wife and children from tumbling out, but he begged them to keep quiet, and not to try to escape. They remained where they were, in the bed, floating about, until the flood subsided, and the bed again rested upon the chamber floor…At length assistance came, and all the family were rescued.’ View of ruins of Hill Bridge, Hillsborough, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: t00166) How did Robert Graham and his family manage to escape from drowning? Account from Harrison’s History of the Sheffield Flood, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: HAR/LOCAL)

16 What do you think is happening in this scene? Rollo the dog was said to have saved the child from drowning. Picture of Rollo the dog and a child, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: u01735)

17 “I was just about to unfasten the door, when it was burst in, the water throwing us back with tremendous force. I was whirled round the house, and I heard my poor wife cry “I cannot stand, I am going”, but I saw neither wife nor children again. I remember no more, but those who saw me tell me that I was washed out of the window, and I seized one of the shutters, drew myself up by that, and from thence to the chamber window, and to the roof of the house”. Account of John Parke’s of Orchard Lane, Sheffield, from Harrison’s History of the Sheffield Flood, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: HAR/LOCAL) How did John Parke, who lived on Orchard Lane, Sheffield manage to avoid drowning? “The door of Parke’s house was burst open by the water, and a horse floated into the room…” Picture of damaged houses on Neepsend Lane, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: ss00593)

18 Pictures of Daniel Chapman’s House at Little Matlock, Loxley, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: t00152 and s00975) In the house opposite lived Daniel Chapman, who lived there with his wife Ellen, his young child, two apprentices, a nephew, and a servant girl. All were swept away and drowned. Look at the grave register entry for Daniel Chapman’s family grave below. How old was he when he drowned? What was the name of his child who died in the flood? Loxley Chapel Grave Register entry for the Chapman Family, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: Acc. 1994/91/1)

19 According to the above memorial card, between what times did the flood strike? Why do you think the flood happening at such a time would have caused a particularly high number of deaths? Card in memory of those who died in the flood, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: X160)

20 Police Reports Sheffield Police Book, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: SY295/12/4) After the flood, the Sheffield Police recorded the damage and deaths it had caused. According to the Sheffield Police, what was the total number of people killed in the flood? How many children under the age of 10 were killed? Were more boys or more girls killed? How many pigs died in the flood? Did the flood kill more children under the age of 10 or more tame rabbits?

21 Sheffield Police Book, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: SY295/12/4) This is a page from a Sheffield Police book recording the names of people who died in the flood. How old was the youngest person who died (listed on this page)? How many members of the Bisby Family who lived at Malin Bridge died?

22 Sightseeing and Souvenirs The Sheffield Flood attracted great interest all over England. After the flood, sightseers came from all over the land to look at the dramatic and devastating scenes it had caused. Souvenirs of the flood such as the mug below were made. Do you think some people might have been unhappy about the flood attracting sightseers and souvenir hunters? Picture showing the Dale Dyke Reservoir after it burst, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s00973) Picture showing remains of Brick Row, Holme Lane, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s00973) Souvenir mug showing the rescue of a child by Rollo the dog (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: u01737)

23 Helping the victims After the flood a Relief Committee was set up in Sheffield and an appeal for funds to help the sufferers was made. People from all over the country donated money (Queen Victoria herself donated £200). The Relief Committee provided thousands of pairs of shoes and items of clothing to people who had lost their possessions in the flood. What particular items can you identify below which were provided by the Relief Committee to the flood victims? Relief Fund Register showing items provided to flood victims, 1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library: SSTF)

24 Inquest John Leather (Engineer): There is the possibility of a landslip. A landslip under the side of the bank may have produced it… Coroner: Then you do not ascribe the bursting of the reservoir to unsound principles of engineering or to bad workmanship? John Leather: Certainly not. An investigation known as an inquest was held in Sheffield to try and work out what caused the flood and the deaths and destruction that followed. The inquest was led by Sheffield Coroner, John Webster (pictured right) who was responsible for investigating causes of deaths in Sheffield). At the inquest, the Sheffield Waterworks Company denied that the flood had been caused by any faults in their building of the dam: Coroner: Can you tell us the cause of the breakage? Ralph Blakelock Smith (Waterworks Company Legal Advisor) We cannot, nor can any of the witnesses. Coroner: If you cannot point out a reason for the embankment breaking, we have a right to assume that it has failed from bad workmanship. Ralph Blakelock Smith: I demur from that. It has been suggested that it is not bad workmanship, but a natural failure in the ground which human foresight could not prevent. Inquest extracts [reproduced in The Collapse of the Dale Dyke Dam by G. Amey] (Sheffield Archives: AME/LOCAL)

25 At the inquest, rather than the dam bursting because of bad workmanship, the Sheffield Waterworks Company argued that it may have burst because of a ‘landslip’, due to weaknesses in the ground on which it was built. Look at the drawing below showing the line of the break in the dam and the underlying ground on which the dam was built. How stable do you think the ground was? Are there any parts of the ground which sound to you like they might not have been very strong? Sheffield Waterworks Company drawing showing breach in the Dale Dyke Dam and the underlying ground, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: YWA/10/1/3)

26 Who or what was to blame? Two Government inspectors, Robert Rawlinson and Nathaniel Beardmore, who were sent to inspect the dam after the flood, reported that the dam burst because of bad workmanship and design. The Sheffield Waterworks Chief Engineers, John Gunson and John Leather (and a Waterworks Company Investigation) claimed the burst was an accident which couldn’t have been avoided, caused by an unforseen landslip. Inquest Jury: “In our opinion, there has not been that engineering skill and that attention to the construction of the works, which their…importance demanded”. Did the jury at the inquest agree with the Government inspectors and the Coroner (that the dam design and building was at fault) or agree with the Waterworks Company (that it was an accident with no-one to blame)? John Webster, Coroner: “According to the description of Mr Leather and Mr Gunson, the work was so perfect that it was impossible to improve upon it. Now, in my opinion, there must have been something fatal in either its design or its construction or it certainly would not have burst”.

27 With the inquest judging that the Sheffield Waterworks Company was responsible for causing the flood, thousands of compensations claims for damages were made against the company by people who had suffered. People claimed for loss of property, possessions, livelihood and for injury and death of relatives. Flood Claims for Compensation Look at this claim made by William Watson, an ‘Anvil Smith’ (he made heavy blocks of iron/steel on which hot metals would have been shaped). Where did William Watson live? From the information given, what can you guess happened to his wife and two children? Sheffield Flood Claims Register, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: CA7/1, claim no. 414)

28 The claims for things lost in the flood by two people: John Walsh, a Confectioner (someone who makes/sells sweets) and Levi Fox, a Toy Dealer have got muddled up! Can you work out which claims were made by John Walsh and which ones by Levi Fox? Sheffield Flood Claims Register, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: CA7/1, claim no and no. 173 ) Amongst the list of sweets above is there anything you might not expect to find sold in a sweet shop today?

29 Match up these claims to the person you think made them Richard Nesbit Ryan, Formerly Theatrical Manager and Comedian; Now Author, Poet and Publisher (claim 4061) Thomas Cowley Fawley, Farmer (claim 4675) George Goddall, Late an Innkeeper, now out of business (claim 4069) John Dean, Hairdresser and Artificial Florist (claim 6035) Sheffield Flood Claims Registers, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: CA7/4, 5 and 7)

30 We heard the account of Henry Whittles earlier who saved his family from drowning in the flood. According to the flood claims register what was Henry’s job? What were the tea spoons he lost in the flood made from? How many pairs of Henry’s children’s boots were lost? What happened to his books? Sheffield Flood Claims Register, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: CA7/3, claim no. 2796)

31 These are extracts showing a claim by Mary Pickering for the loss of life of her son William Pickering, landlord of the Free Masons Arms, Hill Bridge. How much did she claim in damages for the death of her son? Sheffield Flood Claims Register, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: CA7/9, claim no. 59) Photograph showing ruins of the Free Masons Arms on the left where William Pickering died,1864 (Sheffield Local Studies Library Picture Sheffield: s00909)

32 Look at this claim by Victoria Smalley claim for compensation for herself (and her child) for the death of her husband, Thomas Smalley, in the flood. What was Victoria’s address? What job did her husband Thomas do? Victoria claimed for £1000. Was she awarded the full amount she claimed? How much of the money awarded was to go to her and how much to her child? Sheffield Flood Claims Register, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: CA7/9, claim no. 41)

33 Look at 7 year old William Elston’s claim for compensation on the right for the death of his parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Elston. It was argued that William would ‘never be able to earn his own living’ due to him being disabled. William claimed for £500 but how much was he actually awarded? An award of £100 for the loss of life of someone on whom a person depended was less than many others received for loss of their possessions. For example, Walter Sykes, a Powder Flask Maker, was awarded £487 for loss of his possessions which mainly consisted of a large collection of books (claim number 5989). The poet (and former actor, theatre manager and comedian) Richard Nesbit Ryan (mentioned earlier) received £100 for the loss of his writings. Do you think the flood claim awards of money were fair? Sheffield Flood Claims Register, 1864 (Sheffield Archives: CA7/9, claim no. 47)

34 Recap What was the month and year when the Great Sheffield Flood happened? What was the name of the reservoir at Bradfield which burst causing the flood? What was the company called who built the reservoir? According to Sheffield Police reports, how many people died in total in the flood? What was the Relief Committee set up to do? What was the role of Sheffield Coroner, John Webster, after the flood?

35 Sheffield Archives and Local Studies If you prefer to use this presentation as a basis for a class visit to Archives and Local Studies or in a visit by us to your class please contact us. Students will have the opportunity to see and touch the original items. We offer Access to original primary source material from Tudor times through to the 21st century. Class visits to the Central Library and to Sheffield Archives. Visits to schools to deliver classroom sessions. Introductory sessions for teaching staff. Online PowerPoint lesson resources. Focus Packs of colour facsimiles linked to the National Curriculum.


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