On This Day: ‘Cloud-Burst at Rowsley – Remarkable Floods’

From the Ashbourne Telegraph, 2nd August 1912, Derbyshire weather not unlike early July 2012:


On Saturday there was a cloudburst at the Haddon Hall tunnel, about a mile and a half from Bakewell on the Midland line.  Debris from the hills above the railway was quickly washed down and a large part of an embankment slipped, and the earth completely blocked the line from Manchester to Derby.

Water streamed into the Haddon tunnel until it was about two feet deep, and traffic was completely dislocated, and for over half an hour several expresses were held up in the vicinity.

It was found that some damage had been done to the railway, and it was necessary for the trains to proceed with caution.  A party of Bakewell golfers, who were proceeding to Matlock to play a match found that their train was unable to proceed, and they walked home again.  Expresses between Manchester and London were diverted via the Dore and Chinley line, but the local traffic was stopped on both sides of the Haddon tunnel.

The whole of the sidings were flooded – that is 36 miles of rails.

Mr. A. Hawes, Clerk to the Bakewell Guardians, said the roadway by Haddon Hall was under water as well as Rowsley.  He added: “I think the worst of the fall was beyond FillifordBridge, where the water was so high on the roads that it forced holes through the boundary walls one could crawl through.  The amount of damage done must be enormous.”

On the moors above Sydnope, over the 1,000 feet level, Mr. Edwards a dog fancier, resides with his family.  His experience was alarming.  Lightning first struck his house in the roof, ran along the gutters, and down the spouts to earth.  A second flash struck the chimney, and ran down into the house, where it swept the fire out, and burnt the hearth rug.  Mr. Edwards says the house was full of strong smelling sulphur and smoke for some minutes, and he took his wife and child out of the house for safety.

Lightning also struck a house in Vineyard Terrace, belonging to the Stancliffe Estates Co., and there it went through the roof and two ceilings, and finally visited the front room, smashing the fire-grate.  At Hackney three trees – an oak, a pear, and an apple – in a row were struck.  Cows are also reported to have been killed in the fields.

Much damage was also done to the well-known cottage which stands close to the Haddon Hall, and the flood from the hills was so great that the occupants only just managed to get out of the building in time.  All round this historic spot the meadows were under water.  

The County Local Studies Library holds the Ashbourne Telegraph, 1903-1957 – just ring to book a microfilm reader.

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