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Stories of Places

A Tale of Two Torrents

Both stories are drawn from contemporary newspaper reports of the day.

The first from the Stockport Advertiser of 1911, describes a flood in the May of that year, in Compstall and beyond.

Whilst the second, published in the Stockport Express of December 24th 1991, reports on the collapse of the retaining wall in Town Street, Marple Bridge.

(Pic right: Reconstruction begins, following 1991 damage)

 May 1911 was a notable month for freak rainfall and storms.

On Derby Day, 31st May, one of the fiercest storms to hit the London area, centred over the Epson Downs. Within a three mile radius of Epsom, three people were killed instantly 14 more were injured, one of whom died later, and four work horses were also struck . In the Metropolitan area seventeen people lost their lives.

Link: Epsom Story

Earlier in the month, in Bellingham, Northumberland, on the afternoon of May 14, 1911, a violent cloudburst  over a remote corner of Northumberland transformed the village forever. Within three hours of a prodigious hailstorm, the Hareshaw Burn running through the village of Bellingham rose 15 feet, destroying everything in its path. The fronts of flooded homes were ripped off, buildings and gardens were washed away and roads and footbridges were left impassable.

Link: Bellingham Story


Stockport Advertiser May 19th 1911

 THUNDERSTORMS AND FLOODS
REMARKABLE RESULTS IN NORTH CHESHIRE
SCHOOLS & HOUSES FLOODED AT COMPSTALL
COMMERCIAL HOTEL SWEPT BY WATER
CASES OF BEER CARRIED OUT INTO STREET


Chadkirk on that day

Reports from all parts British Isles record the heaviest rainfall for a decade, but nowhere probably were the effects of the thunderstorm on Saturday so startling as in the immediate neighbourhood of Stockport, and is said they passed all records in the last forty years.

Damage on Dan BankThere was no great damage done in the town of Stockport itself, though the thunder roared and rain descended in heavy torrents continuously for an hour in the county district, however especially at Marple, Chadkirk, Compstall and Romiley, the rain continued for a much longer time, and the effects were often disastrous .

At Compstall a swollen stream washed away the gardens set apart for and liked by the children attending the Council School, and the flood after bursting a culvert, tore out the corner of a building and carried the bricks and debris a great distance.

After washing the people out of their homes nearby, the water rose to a great height and, bursting the windows of the school, poured in such volume that the piano and cupboards were floating about, and then they were bone by the flood through the doors into the schoolyard. Water burst the yard gate of the Commercial Hotel, and then entering the hotel at the back door flowed out the front, carrying out with it boxes of mineral water and bottled beer. Two houses were struck by lightning in Thomas Street, Compstall. Near St. Pauls Church and Sunday School, the flooding was alarming owing to the overflow of the brook which runs behind the graveyard. At the rear of Andrew Street, some outbuildings and cellars were completely flooded.

Damage on Dan Bank

At Dingle Hollow, the highway between Compstall and Romiley, the road was rendered almost impossible by reason of the depth of water which streamed through the hollow portion.

Throughout Sunday people in Compstall were sitting in the upper rooms of the houses with the lower storeys full of water.

At Bunkers Hill near Chadkirk, one half of the county main road between Stockport and Marple was torn up.

And on the same day in Rossendale


December 24th 1991 Stockport Express

Freak weather Causes Chaos
Floods SWEEP AWAY A WALL

Annabel Tiffin

The freak week-end weather caused chaos when part of Town Street in Marple Bridge finally slid into the River Goyt.

The severe rainfall was too much for the already unstable retaining wall and it finally gave way, leaving a gaping hole in the road at around 6: 30pm, on Saturday.

The street is now completely closed to traffic and is likely to remain so for several months.

Work will begin today on stabilizing the damaged part of the wall by dumping rocks into the river to divert the flow, but the main work of the wall will start until mid-February.

During the road closure local traffic will be diverted through Constable Drive and Hollins lane, coming out t Longhurst Lane, and through traffic will be sent via Glossop and New Mills.

(Annabel Tiffin is now main presenter and producer for the BBC regional news programme North West Tonight)

Town Street, Marple Bridge, in the 1970s