Historians find story of flooding dating from 1924

FLOODING problems have long been cause for concern in Morpeth, as local historians have discovered.

Alan Davison and Brian Harle have found numerous reports of flooding in the town while trawling through old editions of the Morpeth Herald, as well as suggestions about how the situation could be addressed.

One such report focused on a storm of 1924.

It began: “Not since the great rainstorm in 1900 has Morpeth experienced such a torrential deluge as was witnessed over the weekend.

“Commencing at half-past three on Saturday morning, the rain fell unceasingly until about four o’clock on Sunday afternoon.

“The total rainfall recorded at Morpeth during the 36 hours was 4.14 inches, the wettest period on record for the past 24 years.”

The flood rendered Oldgate Bridge impassable, the Mayor had to remove covers from manholes in Castle Square, while Corporation workmen removed silt from the gullies. Nine houses in Bennett’s Walk were flooded and the Tanners Burn overflowed, causing flooding to properties in Stanley Terrace, Phoenix Yard, Dark Lane, Staithes Lane and Corporation Yard.

The residents of Low Stanners suffered the most and had to be taken to the Town Hall for shelter, where they were given dinner, tea, supper, clothing and blankets.

Allotment holders lost their produce, as well as pigs and poultry, and several sheep were drowned.

A letter from a J. F. Liddle, of South Terrace, condemned the council for not taking action sooner to prevent flooding and suggested that the stream should be diverted under Newgate Street to the river. He also called for the removal of dams at Oliver’s Mill and East Mill, describing them as monuments of inefficiency.

Four years later, there is a report that the council had agreed to seek an estimate for the construction of a tunnel from the Tanners’ Burn to the river, under Dawson Place and the Beeswing.