The Great Flood was a disaster of immense proportions but you can always trust a touch of grim Sheffield humour to shine through.
One thing which became apparent while researching today’s main Retro feature is how after the Sheffield Blitz – in which more than 600 people were killed – city folk drew on the Great Flood as a source of inspiration and black amusement.
“Look on the bright side,” went one refrain after the devastating bombing of December 1940. “This is the first interesting thing to happen here since the Dale Dyke dam broke.”
WHAT caused that break, incidentally, has never been established for certain.
Government inspectors investigating afterwards said bad design and workmanship was at fault, although Sheffield Waterworks Company – which had built the thing – claimed a landslip had caused the disaster.
As late as 1978, G M Binnie, vice-president of the Institute of Civil Engineers, was looking into it. His conclusion was that a supposed watertight membrane in the dam wall had ruptured resulting in leakage and the consequential erosion of the inner central part of the embankment.
That’s clear then.
AND, finally, since we’ve talked floods and blitz, here’s a recently discovered picture of a third Sheffield disaster – the hurricane of 1962
A new book about the city – Dirty Stop Out Guide To 1960s Sheffield by Neil Anderson – will have a large section on the February 16 storm. And this image, showing the devastation to Walkley Bank Road, Walkley, has been provided by Jayne Lycett.
She told him: “We went to live with a relative for about a year while our house was being rebuilt.
“My mother was never right after that and hated being in that house. Even now I have a fear of storms which is probably because of 1962.”