Lakeland scenes in the Dearne Valley – Countryside Flooded

August 1912

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 31 August 1912

Remarkable Rains

Countryside Flooded

Lakeland scenes in the Dearne Valley

Mexborough Rainfall

we are nearing the end of the wettest summer experience in the British house for many years, but exactly how wet it is was not brought on to is any force until last weekend, when we had 34 hours of almost continuously heavy rain.

An extraordinary state of things was experiencing the Eastern counties, and especially at Norwich, the city and its environments were flooded, where 6 inches of rain fell in 24-hour on Sunday and Monday. The effect was remarkable. The city was isolated, the railways stop, houses demolished, families imprisoned in their bedroom, the water supply and tramway service up, lives lost and many endangered and the only mode of loan commotion was by boat. Norwich was transformed into an English Menace, and streets were patrolled by the police in boats. As regards the fact that the previous record rainfall for a day in Michelle’s 3 inches, Norwich’s overdose of 6 inches is truly remarkable.

Scenes in South Yorkshire.

South Yorkshire has fared as well as any other district in the general inundation, but here also an abnormal state of things has prevailed, and hundreds of square miles of land, principally in the colliery areas where the ground subsided, and the water, and in some instance to a considerable depth.

Of course, the valley of the Dearne, from Wath to Cadeby, a noted flood spot, was quickly inundated. Some parts of it are never free from water. The low lying ings or pasture land, lying between Mexborough and Harlington, have been impassible since the beginning of May, and at present Harlington Mill is cut off from everywhere.

Higher up the valley the floods rose rapidly on Tuesday, and in the evening of that day all the dikes were filled, and the water was gathering over the highway from Adwick to Barnburgh, so that there was a fair prospect, in the event of further rain, of Harlington and Barnburgh been cut off from the Mexborough side.

The Dearne once more broke its banks and spread its waters of the low lying meadows below Adwick on Dearne, and on Bolton Common for miles. This is a noted skating area, but not for many years has river been so swollen, or the floods so widespread.

At Bolton on Dearne, the lake was so deep and expansive that we have had this week the novel spectacle of boats plying for hire, and enterprising boatman and made quite a harvest.

Hayfields Inundated

adjacent to the railway at Wath there was an enormous lake field after field; failing standing up in bold, black relief, alone mark the boundary lines. Similar sites were furnished close to Bolton, Adwick, Barnburgh, and up to the railway near Cadeby.

Grave fears are entertain by the people in the railway less there should be any further great damp, as nothing but the subsidence of the river can remedy this existing state of things. Old folk are unanimous in declaring that they have not known such floods for the last 60 years. Most of the land and the water is pasturage, but a number of hayfields are badly flooded – some all over and her great depth.

It was a strange experience as one walked along the edge of the flood at nightfall, or on the high strips of ground round the borders are some of the fears come to see water rats and young waterfowl, startled, swim from the cover of half submerged haystacks to make a dash to more sheltered spots. This happened often, and a common sight was to see lapwings swimming about in the waters that submerged hay fields.

Not a few fields which at first sight looked to be free from water proved, on attempting to cross them, to be little short of treacherous swamps. It was difficult in some instances to account from whence the water came. In one a field, from between hay cocks, quite a little torrent flowed, and emptied itself in the Dearne, evidently to help flood the land at a lower level down the valley. The riverbank, it is interesting to note, is only a foot or 18 inches above the ground level in many places.

About 2 feet of the slender banking is given way against the trees, and a mile or two of land has been to the level of the river itself. If more rain comes it is highly probable that some of the turnpikes who become impassable, in addition to the small roads and little-known paths, already effected.

At Cadeby

Lower down the river there is an unusually heavy overflow into the Mexborough Pastures, where the wash lies dangerously deep, and under the Cadeby tunnel connecting the Cadeby village with the pit yard, the water collected to the depth of nearly a foot.

The Don also is very swollen, but has not overflowed its banks, and the ferry service from Mexborough to Old Denaby (where there are heavy collections of water) has been maintained.

On Wednesday the floods were rapidly subsiding.


Both the river Don and the brook have been in flood during the week, and on Monday the body of a woman, which has not since been identified, was taken from the former near the glass works. An inquest was held at the Station Hotel. Considerable inconvenience has been caused in March Gate by the overflowing of the brook. Pigs and fowls had to be carried to the place of safety, and much damage was done to property.

Forced to Upper Rooms

During the extra ordinary heavy rains, Mr and Mrs Manham and family, of Townend, Wath, have been compelled to retire to the upper rooms earlier than usual. Despite the precautions taken to prevent the rising waters in the adjoining dike from overflowing and flooding their premises, the precautions were thoughtless, and, on several occasions recently the lower rooms presented a sorry spectacle in consequence of the water rising to such a height to compel them to retreat to the bedrooms. How could anyone keep cool under the circumstances, even when wading ankle deep? Rising of the waters arose indignation!

Position at Wath


After the heavy rain on Tuesday, a pitiful sight presented itself in the low lying portions of the district, hundreds of acres having been under water, and in several cases the standing crops were entirely ruined. The Town dike overflowed its banks between Moor Road and the Oil Works, and here again there was a vast extent of water, the like of which has not been seen in many years.

Damage at Kilnhurst

Owing to the recent heavy rains, many acres of pasture land have been submerged under water at Kilnhurst. The worst places have been on the east side of the Great Central Railway, in fields rented by Mr A Williams. The Kilnhurst Institute Cricket Field has also been flooded, and the cricketers will no doubt have to seek fresh quarters for their few remaining matches.

Miners Delayed

On Tuesday workmen living at Darfield, and employed at the Houghton Main Collieries were compelled to stay at home owing to the very severe floods. On the bridle path the water was about 3 feet deep, and at Darfield Bridge about a foot, on the main road. The consequence was the collieries were idle for the day.

The water in some cases were actually running in the houses through the windows, at Darfield Bridge, and people are driven into the top stories on the flood of baited.

Again at Low Valley floods cause considerable inconvenience, in some cases the milkman having to back his cart straight up to the house side and hand the milk in through the windows.