County floods remembered by Nottinghamshire Archives and Picture the Past

23 Jan 2014 - 12:11

(Notes to editors - images are below the news release in documents)

Water, water everywhere. Floods which have ravaged the south of England in recent weeks remind us of the devastation they can leave in their wake.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s archives service has teamed up with the Picture the Past website to look back at some of the flooding incidents which have affected Nottinghamshire down the years.

There are many examples of famous floods in the county such as those affecting West Bridgford in 1932 and in Worksop the same year and those experienced in Lowdham in 1999.

The county council has many documents, personal diaries and other artefacts bringing to life how flooding affected people in years gone by.

And the Picture the Past website has a wide range of images which show first-hand how landscapes and town centres can be transformed beyond recognition during a flood.

Councillor John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Records from our archives service and some of the dramatic photographs it has on file, as well as photographs from Picture the Past show just how local communities across Nottinghamshire have been affected by floods over the years and also how they have coped with them.”

The Picture the Past website is managed by Nottinghamshire County Council, Derbyshire County Council, Nottingham City Council and Derby City Council and contains many historic photographs. Visit:

Here are some of the archive examples:

The diaries of Abigail Gawthern, a Nottinghamshire socialite, from the Georgian period:

"On the 11 February 1795, Abigail Gawthern wrote in her diary about ‘A most remarkable large flood [in Nottingham], never was known such a one in the memory of the oldest man now living. It was a yard deep in my farming man’s house at the Leadworks, and up to the scraper at the counting house door many vinegar casks floated with the thralls, they were prevented turning aside by Mr Fell our clerk having slips of wood and ropes nailed over them to keep them steady. The water was a yard deep in the working rooms and within an inch of the Red Lead room where the men were at that time making Red Lead. Dixon’s family were carried out of their house to Mr Crisp’s in Greyfriar Gate and slept there one night. Twelve men were three times up to their breast in water attending to the casks that floated, it was at the height at 12 o’clock at noon, it went off the leadworks yard very rapidly after that time, and out of Dixon’s house. Three pigs were drowned in the style and several fish were found dead there after the water went off that came from the pond. There were boats in Narrow Marsh and Turncalf Alley to take provisions to the inhabitants, who were obliged to be in their upper rooms. The water rose remarkably fast the day before. The work people at the Leadworks desired they might have the pigs divided amongst them, which they had, they were exceeding good meat. At Bridgford ten cows were drowned and a horse in the straw yard. Mr Samuel Smith’s house at Wilford was flooded, the Drawing Room chair height, and he had 72 sheep drowned, and about 40 yards of his garden wall washed down’."

In Beeston, the December floods of 1910 meant that Nether Street Girls’ School closed for two days as only a 'very small number of girls came to school owing to the impassibility of the floods'.

Radcliffe on Trent:
In 1922 the flood water at Radcliffe on Trent was so deep that residents were able to swim up the main road.

The papers of Brinsley Parish Council include reference to Cordy Lane in Brinsley, which regularly flooded when there were storms and heavy rain. There was a culvert under the road but after heavy rains when the fields flooded, the culvert could not accommodate all the water and the road consequently flooded. The correspondence which refers to this dates between the 1930s and 1960s.

And in terms of images and photographs from the archive service and Picture the Past:

West Bridgford:
A photograph shows flooding along Loughborough Road in West Bridgford in May 1932, and a car abandoned in the middle of the road. Other photographs in this small collection show water rising around the front walls of houses on the corner of Loughborough Road and Chantrey Road, and two men in a boat sailing up the main street! Picture credits: Nottinghamshire County Council Archives

In March 1947 the River Trent flooded an area of about 6,000 acres including many houses and factories in Nottingham, West Bridgford, Beeston and Carlton. Nottingham Midland Station was flooded to platform level and Newark was also affected. The police were required to ferry provisions to many people using rowing boats and they carried out many emergency rescues. During these floods, one of the photographs shows the County Ground flooding. Picture credits: Nottinghamshire County Council Archives

These images show two areas of flooding in Retford due to flooding in 1922. They included Albert Road and West Street, looking back towards the Hump Back Bridge over the River Idle. Picture credits: Both images are courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Council and

This image taken from the Cecil Brown Collection on the Picture the Past website shows Worksop in floodwater in 1932. The photograph captures a coach and horses battling through Bridge Street. The floods were caused by the River Ryton overflowing. Picture credit: Courtesy of The Cecil Brown Collection and

Papplewick Lane was affected when the River Leen flooded in Hucknall in February 1977. Picture credit: Courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Council and

A car battles through the floodwater in Mansfield Road in Skegby in 1985. Picture credit: Courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Council and

Main Street in Rolleston in 1923, shows this image with some residents coping with the high water. Picture credit: Courtesy of Antoine and

Bernard and Pauline Heathcote’s Photographic Collection captures the floods in Lowdham in 1999. This photograph shows how the water affected the Cricket Field in Lowdham in January that year. Picture credit: Courtesy of Bernard and Pauline Heathcote Photographic Collection and

For more details about the floods or other themes please visit the Picture the Past website: or Nottinghamshire County Council Archives Service on:


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