‘Making Sheffield’ recounts the 1864 night a torrent of water swept through the city, killing hundreds

“Foaming water pounded down Loxley Valley like a train - a racehorse couldn’t have gotten in front of it,” says Sheffield historian Ron Clayton.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 7:00 am
‘Making Sheffield’ recounts the 1864 night a torrent of water swept through the city, killing hundreds
‘Making Sheffield’ recounts the 1864 night a torrent of water swept through the city, killing hundreds

“It was just devastation; everything in its path went down, and people caught in the middle of it thought the world was ending.”

The Great Sheffield Flood of 1864 killed at least 240 people and destroyed more than 600 houses, when the newly-built Dale Dyke Dam collapsed as it was being filled for the first time.

An estimated three million cubic metres of water smashed down the Loxley Valley to Malin Bridge and Hillsborough, before reaching Sheffield centre and Attercliffe.

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‘Making Sheffield’ recounts the 1864 night a torrent of water swept through the city, killing hundreds

“Around half of those who died in the deluge were children – one a newborn baby washed from his mother’s arms in Bradfield,” says Ron, with a sad shake of his head.

“The stories of those killed, and of those who escaped, are legendary; and the graves – some unmarked to this day – are scattered across the city.”

In this weekend’s episode of The Star’s new heritage and history podcast, ‘Making Sheffield,’ Ron explores the Great Sheffield Flood in detail, recounting for our listeners exactly what happened, just before midnight on March 11 1864.

‘Making Sheffield’ immortalises the moments that have shaped the steel city; celebrating key events and locations in its history, and paying tribute to some of the trials it has weathered and survived.

In this weekly series, we invite you, our listeners, on a journey to discover more about the historic foundations our city is built upon.

Listen to ‘Making Sheffield’ now – available on all major platforms.