Floods of 20 September 1946

Around 20 hours of continuous heavy rainfall between 19 and 20 September 1946 led to flooding across the North of England.

Holme Valley

Thongsbridge Mills were flooded to a depth of four feet.

Rock Mills, Brockholes

32-year-old Edward Brook Addy of Hope Bank, Honley, was drowned when he accidentally lost his balance and fell into the river. His body was recovered at Lockwood a couple of days later.

The taper shed of Kaye & Messenger Ltd.'s wax candle works at Neiley, which had been rebuilt after the 1944 flood, was destroyed.

Part of a shed at Bridge Dyeworks, Honley, belonging to James Beaumont & Sons Ltd. collapsed, trapping four men inside: Ben Taylor of Hill Top (Netherton), Mr. H. Whiteley of Berry Brow, Joe Newsome of Netherton, and Lewis Ward of Honley. As the flood waters rose in the building, they were forced to break a window to escape. Alf Higginbottom was on the roof of the shed at the time it collapsed but was fortunately thrown into the mill yard rather than towards the river.

The main road at Honley was flooded to a depth of 18 inches.

St. Paul's Church at Armitage Bridge was flooded, along with its graveyard. Several of the gravestones were displaced.

The cellars of Queen's Mill, Rashcliffe, were flooded to a depth of over seven feet after the river burst its banks. Albert Street was reportedly flooded to a depth of 18 inches.

Colne Valley

Tunnel End, 20 Sep 1946.jpg

At Tunnel End, Marsden, a portion of the Tunnel End Reservoir overflow which passes over the railway line gave way. The flood waters then spilled onto the trackbed, washed it away, and exposed the underground portion of the overflow beneath the trackbed of the two south lines. Traffic westwards from Huddersfield was diverted via Burnley due to Summit Tunnel on the Manchester & Leeds line also being flooded. At around 4pm, passenger trains were permitted to use the two north lines through Standedge Tunnel.

Marsden Gas Works were flooded and the occupants of the Two Dutchmen were forced to flee "when the water tore gas pipes from the wall".

The Old Bank and Bridge Street areas of Slaithwaite saw "considerable flooding".

Ramsden Mills, Linthwaite

The spinning and warping shed of Crabtree & Sons Ltd., Ramsden Mills, Linthwaite, spanned the river and collapsed. Painters who were working in the shed at the time were "hauled to safety by the mill hoist".

At Stafford Mills, Milnsbridge, around 150 workpeople of James Sykes & Son Ltd. were trapped after flood waters swept through the mill. The Examiner reported that staff climbed "on to the tops of the looms and other machinery" but kept their spirits up by singing Cruising Down the River[1], which had been made popular earlier in the year by Lou Preager and his Orchestra. Firemen eventually raised ladders against the side of the mill and broke through the windows, providing an escape route for the staff. The only reported injury was to Miss Rene Merry.

To avoid the risk of an explosion, the boilers at Paddock Mills were raked out as the mill began to flood.

Huddersfield and Beyond

Properties at Colne Bridge

A underground culvert at Bay Hall burst, leading to cellars in the vicinity being flooded. The fire service attempted to place a dam across Fern Street to stop the flood waters spreading further.

German prisoners of war from the Leeds Road P.O.W. camp[2] assisted in the rescue by boat of workers trapped in the nearby I.C.I. works.

The river burst its banks at Colne Bridge, leading to flooding of properties on Dalton Bank Road.


Notes and References

  1. Wikipedia: Cruising Down the River.
  2. This camp was reportedly situated on Fieldhouse Lane off of Leeds Road.