Take Two: Profiting from disaster?

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And there’s another fascinating little nugget in Mick’s book too.

Despite the Great Sheffield Flood being a man- made disaster, not a single person ever faced criminal liability. Indeed, the Sheffield Water Company, which owned the burst reservoir, responded to the whole situation by putting rates up 25 per cent.

Bosses said the only way to afford the 6,000 compensation claims made against the company in the aftermath was to bump up the precept. The hike allowed the firm, astonishingly, to continue making a profit while coughing up what it owed.


“The greatest Part of the Inhabitants of the Lordship and Liberty of Hallamshire in the said County of York did consist of cutlers and those that made Knives, and other Cutlery Wares, other Wares made and wrought of Iron and Steel...”

Thus began the Act of Parliament, passed 390 years ago this week, which established the Company of Cutlers.

The organisation, which aims to maintain the standards of Sheffield cutlery and steel, toasted its anniversary yesterday after being formed on April 23, 1624.


And another anniversary falls on Saturday: 260 years since the first newspaper to be published in Sheffield appeared.

Lister’s Weekly Journal cost 2p and was published every Tuesday from premises in High Street. It was soon followed by the Sheffield Public Advertiser, the Sheffield Register and the Sheffield Iris. The Star – originally The Sheffield Evening Telegraph – first appeared on June 7, 1887.