History of Flooding in Calderdale

 DATE 

 INCIDENT 

1615

Earliest flood on record. Elland Bridge is destroyed.

1673

Similar to 1615.  Bridges are damaged.

1722

Rippenden Parish Church and Stirk Bridge destroyed.

1775

Flooding level reaches ‘highest ever’.

16 Nov 1830

Newspaper report simply noted “A great flood at Todmorden".

Early 1831

Walls in the lane leading to Christ Church Todmorden were washed away in a deluge.

29 Nov 1834

A great flood did considerable damage in Todmorden and neighbourhood

22 Dec 1837

Hebden Bridge suffered “the highest flood recorded” so far when water levels reached a massive nine feet in places. Reported an observer: “The water was within half an inch of reaching the surgery of Mr John Thomas.”. “The arches of the canal viaduct at Black Pit were unable to take the waters which consequently rose to the height of the canal and ultimately flowed over it.

The waters thus dammed back formed an immense lake out of which many of the houses stood up in a pitiable condition. It is said that someone passed in a boat from the canal over the walls of New Road to the White Horse Inn.

August 1855

In Todmorden around 5pm “the rain poured down in torrents filling the different brooks which wind their way through the valley.” Terrifyingly, a 15-yard high “wall of water” then rushed down the turnpike road, inundating homes and properties including the National School. “The meadows in the neighbourhood presented the appearance of a vast lake.”

26 Oct 1855

“Todmorden was visited by one of the largest floods within the recollection of the oldest inhabitants.” A wall opposite Wadsworth Mill came crashing down and the overflowing Calder turned Burnley Road into a river. Hebden Bridge escaped relatively lightly but at Mytholm “the water rose to the exact height as during the flood of 1837.” Green’s Mill, Portsmouth, suffered serious damage in the torrential downpour and a joiner’s shop at Gauxholme was “swum away.”

6 Aug 1857 

A child drowned in the swollen River Hebden followed a week later by a “considerable rise” in the River Calder resulting in “great damage” in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

7 Aug 1859

Another catastrophic rise in the Calder caused devastation in Hebden Bridge when the river rose “a foot in less than ten minutes,” turning open ground from Salem Mill to the White Horse Hotel into a vast lake.

The same floods also wrought havoc in the Cheapside, Pavement and Salford areas of Todmorden – “nearly covering the looms in Mr Chambers’ mill;”

6 Nov 1860

There was “notable flooding in the town and below,” heralding a decade in which it never seemed to stop raining.

8 Sept 1861

The whole of the Upper Valley suffered “one of the greatest floods ever experienced”

17 Nov 1866

Recorded as the second highest flood after 1775. High-water mark left in Walton Street, Sowerby Bridge.

1869

Further flooding

July 1870

Three people lost their lives when Burnley Valley and areas as far afield as Bacup were inundated. This was generally accounted the worst flood of the century.

8 Dec 1874

According to the Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Historical Almanack “some of the dwellings were flooded to a depth of from 4 or 5 feet.”

1875

Cobden was “visited by one of those floods which are of frequent occurrence in that locality.”

15 July 1877

"Dangerously high” floods spread from Blind Lane down through Roomfield and Sandholme to the centre of Todmorden, filling basements rooms. “The area over which the water spread was probably wider than in any known flood in Todmorden.”

Oct 1877

Unlucky Cobden residents remained under water for nine days.

17 May 1879

A “very heavy thunderstorm” was recorded but not, apparently, followed by the dreaded floods.

Dec 1880

“Serious flooding” was reported in Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd: the Hole in the Wall, Hebden Bridge, was inundated to a depth of four feet and the Dusty Miller, Mytholmroyd, to 3ft 8ins – “only eight inches lower than the great flood of 1837,” it was noted.

1 Jan 1881

Heavy rains caused a landslip on the hillside above the railway line between Todmorden and Dobroyd.

13 Dec 1891

Callis Bridge wrecked. Highest flood since 1866.

1895 

Photo of flooding at Gandy Bridge, Todmorden. No further details.

12 Nov 1901

Walls between Callis Bridge and Hebden Bridge demolished. Footbridge over Calder at Stubbins washed away. Worst flood since 1866 in middle and upper reaches of the valley.

10 Feb 1920

Severe flood in upper reaches (Todmorden and Mytholmroyd). Walls in Mytholmroyd knocked down.

1921

Whole of the Calder Valley suffered when the heavens opened so suddenly people were taken completely unawares. Hillside streams turned into raging torrents and low-lying land from Luddenden Foot to Todmorden was inundated. The water subsided as quickly as it had risen and a massive mopping-up operation began: it was noted that the Calder appeared to be subject to serious flooding every 10 years or so.

1922, 1923 & 1928

Mytholmroyd suffered the worst of the flooding in the Calder valley.

1933

No details available (mentioned incidentally).

22-24 Sept 1935

Flooding in Todmorden at Burley Road, Hudson Street (Cornholme), Garden Street, Wellington Road and Vale Street.  Major Clough overflowed down Victoria Road.

10 Oct 1935

Number of houses flooded in Mytholmroyd. ‘Considerable havoc’ caused in Walsden.

Aug 1938

Serious flooding at Walsden.

23 Jan 1944

River Calder overflowed at Brighouse. Severe local flooding at Hebden Bridge, Callis Bridge and Mytholmroyd. Three deaths reported.

2 Feb 1945

Flooding of roads around Hebden Bridge.

20 Sept 1946

See It's Water Under the Bridge (Mythomroyd’s Worst Flood until the 2015 Boxing Day floods)

River Calder flooded after 2 days of heavy rain; 2 inches of rain fell in 24 hours followed by another ½ inch over the next 12 hours. The Calder Valley was the most seriously affected in the local area. The Calder and Hebden rivers overflowed and Mytholmroyd, Lower Copley, Salterhebble, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse and Todmorden were seriously affected.

The flood level in Walton Street, Sowerby Bridge, was 21 inches above the 1866 level. One resident stated that the flooding was the worst he remembered over the last 50 years, with much damage to buildings and property. Public call for improved flood defence measures.

Flooding in Todmorden at Burnley Road, Victoria Road and Wellington Road. Parts of Todmorden were under 4 feet of water. Walsden flooded at Winterbutlee Tunnel and the railway station, where water was level with the platform.

Serious flooding in Brighouse, affecting low-lying areas next to the Calder and in the area around Clifton Beck. Land between Elland and Brighouse was flooded. Flooding at Copley affected 150 houses and Sterne Mill. Industrial premises at Sowerby Bridge were flooded.

Flooding in Hebden Bridge from the River Calder and Hebden Water.

The number of properties flooded in the 1946 event (Brighouse to Todmorden) was reported as 905. The 1946 event was estimated to have a return period of 100 years at Brighouse and Mytholmroyd, and 33 years at Todmorden.

354 properties in Mytholmroyd were affected, some flooded to 5 or 6 feet deep. Burnley Road was closed for 11 hours.

Dec 1946

River came over its bank in Mytholmroyd.

30 May 1947

Disastrous flooding in Brighouse, entirely from Clifton Beck. Considered more serious than Sept. 1946. River Calder was contained, however there was flooding in Mytholmroyd due to the blockage of culverts on tributaries.

20 Nov 1947

Minor flooding at Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd.

6 or 8 Sept 1950

Flooding in Todmorden at Burnley Road, Centre Vale Park (river overtopping at Gandy Bridge), West Street (18 inches at No. 9) Carrfield and Jobling Terrace in Cornholme, Albert Terrace and ‘Hamerton’ (Hamilton) Terrace. There was 12 inches of water in the Jockey Tavern.

Flooding was from Walsden water and a contributory cause was the breaching of a ‘flood wall’ on Rochdale Road opposite Waterside Mill. 

Flooding of roads and some properties at Callis Bridge and Mytholmroyd.

Summer floods in Ripponden. No further details available.

8 Sept 1951

Road flooding at Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd.

21 Jan 1954

Flooding of roads at Callis Mill and Mytholmroyd, and houses at King Street, Hebden Bridge. Light flooding of roads in Todmorden.

21 Aug 1954

Flooding in Mytholmroyd from River Calder and Cragg Brook. Burnley Road flooded to 3 feet deep with adjacent houses also flooded.

22 Aug 1954

Minor flooding around Brighouse, but not in the town centre. More serious flooding at Clifton Beck. Land between Elland and Brighouse flooded. Serious flooding at Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd. No flooding Todmorden but damage caused in Walsden. Winterbutlee Tunnel flooded to a depth of 2 feet.

Oct 1954

Minor flooding of roads to a depth of 1 foot at Callis Bridge and Mytholmroyd.

27 Nov 1960

Flooding of premises in and around Brighouse. Flooding of roads and mills from Clifton Beck. Land between Elland and Brighouse flooded but no flooding in Elland town. Flooding from River Ryburn in Sowerby Bridge.

Some flooding of cellars at Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd. Flooding in Todmorden narrowly avoided.

26 Aug 1962

Burnley Road in Mytholmroyd flooded to kerb level, plus some cellars in houses.

Sept 1962

River came over its bank at Mytholmroyd. Road at Callis Bridge under 1 foot of water.

9 Dec 1964

Flooding in Calder Valley, Callis Bridge particularly affected.

8-12 Dec 1964

Flooding in Todmorden (from Major Clough) on Burnley Road, Victoria Road, Gledhill Street and Blind Hill area, as well as at Centre Vale Park and Cricket Grounds and Calder College of Further Education.

River came over the bank at Mytholmroyd and the Dusty Miller pub was flooded to a depth of 3 feet. Burnley Road and house cellars were flooded.

9 Dec 1965

Flooding in Sowerby Bridge 43.6’. Elland Weir was breached. Cellars in Victoria Road, Todmorden, were flooded from Major Clough.

8 Feb 1966

Sowerby Bridge 43.1’

20 Feb 1966

Sowerby Bridge 42.1’

17 Oct 1967

Cragg Brook and Rochdale Canal in Mytholmroyd overflowed. Many premises flooded to a depth of 2 feet. Situation alleviated by on-going improvements scheme. Flooding of playing fields and cricket ground to 6 feet deep. One report suggested it was the ‘worst floods since 1946’. Callis Bridge also affected.

19 Oct 1971

Brearley playing fields flooded. Caldene Bridge within 2 feet of overtopping. Road at Callis Bridge under 3 to 4 feet of water.

22 Jan 1975

Minor flooding in Mytholmroyd, Brearley playing fields and properties at the Square and Acre Villas. Railway line at Walsden blocked by landslip.

17 Jul 1975

Flooding upstream of centre of Todmorden at Coronation Terrace caused by a mudslide. Affected were Burnley Road between Portsmouth and Mons Mill (50 houses affected) and the moorland road to Hebden Bridge and Bacup.

1-2 Jan 1976

Snowmelt resulted in flooding in Todmorden at Burnley Road from Centre Vale, Victoria Road and Pudsey Road. Hundreds of homes in Todmorden were flooded.

Blocked culvert on White Lee Clough at Spring Gardens, Mytholmroyd, caused water to flow down Midgley Road. Centre of Mytholmroyd flooded to a depth of 2 feet.

28-31 Dec 1978

High flows in the River Calder, reaching 116.7mm (almost 5 inches) of rain in four days in Yorkshire, almost half of which fell on the 27th of December.

9 Mar 1979

Brearley playing fields at Mytholmroyd were completely flooded. No flooding of properties were recorded in Mytholmroyd on this occasion.

7-8 Apr 1979

High flow in the River Calder after 15mm (over 1.2 inch) of rain.

27 Oct 1979

Brearley playing fields at Mytholmroyd were completely flooded.  Again, no reports of properties in Mytholmroyd being flooded.

27-28 Oct 1980

Highest flow (from 1971 to 1995) was recorded at Elland. Road flooding at Rochdale Road, Walsden Road and Callis Bridge. There was some flooding of cellars to properties built over the culverted section of the River Calder in Todmorden.

29-30 Dec 1981

River Calder at danger levels.

3 Jan 1982

Flooding on the Calder, considered the worst flooding in Yorkshire since March 1947. A total of 900 industrial and domestic properties were affected.

25 June 1982

The River Calder burst its banks at Brearley. Flooding from Cragg Brook, White Lee Clough and surface water drains in Mytholmroyd. Burnley Road was flooded and the bridge over Cragg Brook was washed away.

Cottages at Scar Bottom and Elphaborough Close were flooded to a depth of 2 to 3 feet.

2-4 Aug 1982

Thunderstorms caused severe flooding of Cornholme, Portsmouth and Lydgate. 190 properties were affected including domestic properties, shops, offices, public houses, industrial premises and council properties. Burnley Road was closed to traffic for 12 days.

19 Dec 1982

River came over its bank at Caldene Bridge, Mytholmroyd, causing Burnley Road to flood. Massive flood damage at Cornholme.

21 Dec 1985 

Brearley playing fields in Mytholmroyd was flooded.

16 Jan 1986

Brearley playing fields flooded.

15 Apr 1986

Burnley Road flooded.

19 May 1989

Severe localised flash flooding across the Calder Valley, and on secondary rivers such as Hebden Water, caused flooding damage to gardens, outhouses, culverts and a mill complex, and a number of houses were flooded to a depth of a metre (over three feet) in Luddenden (from Luddenden Brook).

Hebble Brook flooded to a depth of 2 metres (over 6 feet) above bank level causing erosion damage. There was damage to sewers and properties in Halifax and damage to bridge supports and retaining walls along Red Beck. 193mm (7 ½ inches) of rainfall was recorded in two hours at Walshaw Dean reservoir but the validity of this reading is disputed.

Possibly the second most rain intense event on record for the area.

26-28 Dec 1990 & 1 Jan 1991

Flooding in Todmorden.  Bridge No. 96 overtopped.

Sept 1991

River came over its bank at Mytholmroyd.

21 Dec 1991

Flooding in Mytholmroyd.  Burnley Road was flooded to a depth of 600 mm (almost two feet) and properties fronting the road were flooded. Flooding was due to penetration through the riverside walls and surcharging of surface drain outlets.

5 Jan 1992

Brearley playing fields in Mytholmroyd flooded.

23 Jan 1992

Serious flooding in Calder Valley recorded, mainly in Mytholmroyd and Brighouse.

2 Dec 1992

Lesser flood in Mytholmroyd.  Brearley playing fields, cellars of properties on Cragg Road and a property in Dale View were flooded, but no surface flooding.

19 Dec 1993

Flooding of cellars and basements on Cragg Road, Mytholmroyd, due to rain overloading surface drains.

31 Jan 1995

Road flooding in Hebden Bridge and Callis Bridge due to snow melt . The level was just below the defences at Mytholmroyd. Sewers surcharged in Cragg Road and Burnley Road, Mytholmroyd, was flooded to a depth of 3 feet.

Flooding in Walsden and Commercial Street, Todmorden.

3-4 June 2000

Flooding to areas of Walsden via Bridge No. 96 was worsened by the collapse of waterside walls at Rochdale Road and Sackville Street, with overtopping at the Safeway’s bridges, Callis Bridge and Hebden Bridge.

Severe flooding affected approximately 500 homes with reports that water reached up to 8 feet deep in some areas. The following roads/streets were flooded: Hazelwoods, Industrial Street, Cambridge Street, Stackhills Road, Hope Street, Derdale Street, Der Street, River Street, and Commercial Street. Millwood Works, Industrial Units at Eastwood and Todmorden Sewage Works at Eastwood were also affected by flooding.

Hebden Bridge suffered widespread flooding with properties and businesses on virtually all of the streets in the area being underwater. The following roads/streets (among others) were affected: Stubbing Holme Road, Market Street, Old Gate, Bridge Gate, Holme Street, New Road, Hope Street and Albert Street. Calder Holmes Park was also flooded.

Several industrial units in Mytholmroyd flooded.

Brearley and Luddenden Foot - reports of property flooding, some from surface water. Playing fields in the areas flooded. Industrial units at Luddenden Foot and the business park at Longbottom Bridge were also affected.

The playing fields, Victoria Road, Water Street and industrial units off Hall Street in Sowerby Bridge were affected by flooding.

2–3 July 2006 

Reports highlight that properties on Eagle Street flooded when the river overtopped  its banks due to heavy rainfall. Many roads in and around Todmorden were closed, with approximately 20 properties flooded in cellars (kitchens) on Industrial Street, Commercial Street and Sackville Street. 30 properties on Halifax Road, 12 properties including the Public House on Burnley Road, and 20 –30 properties on Rochdale Road opposite Morrison's Supermarket all flooded from surface water run-off. St Joseph’s School on Wellington Road was also reported to have flooded. Properties in Walsden were flooded when a culvert under the railway line at Rochdale Road became blocked and Walsden Water surcharged onto the railway line. Also, 3 properties on Rochdale Road at the junction with Strines Street flooded from Ramsden Clough.

21 Jan 2008

Walsden flooding affected the railway cutting at Deanroyd Road worse than in 2012/3. Rochdale Road, Todmorden, was closed between the A646 Burnley Road and the junction with Inchfield Road, Walsden, due to flooding. Areas around Centre Vale Park were flooded, along with properties on Burnley Road near Todmorden High School.

19 Nov 2009

Surface water caused cellar flooding on commercial street, Todmorden, with additional flooding of roads in Walsden.

22 June 2012

Major flooding across the Upper Valley down to Brighouse. River Calder and River Hebble overflowed causing major damage. This flood event was the largest fluvial event (fluvial flooding happens when rivers burst their banks because of sustained or intense rainfall) on record across the Upper Calder Valley, and the third largest across the lower reaches of the River Calder. Rainfall raised river levels all along the River Calder and filled all available storage. From midday onwards, steady rainfall continued to fall. More than a month’s rainfall fell in the 24 hours of the 22nd of June. The rivers rose to unprecedented levels causing the worst flooding since 2000. Over 900 properties and businesses were affected by the resulting flooding when Walsden Water, the River Calder, various tributary rivers and the Rochdale Canal burst their banks. Hebden Bridge recorded its highest ever river level (3.311 metres) and Mytholmroyd saw levels over 4.9 metres. Some properties flooded to a depth of over a metre.

As well as the flooded premises, there was structural damage to road surfaces, culverts and bridges, plus major disruption to traffic and local people, including the railway line, stranding many people in transit.

The towns and villages most affected were Walsden, Todmorden, Eastwood, Hebden Bridge (including major flooding at Callis, Woodland Villas and Charlestown), Mytholmroyd and Brearley/Luddendenfoot.

There was also flooding in other parts of the Borough, such as in Sowerby Bridge, Elland and Brighouse.

9 July 2012

Flash floods in Hebden Bridge, Eastwood & Mytholmroyd. Three weather systems hit the area on the 9th July, causing torrential rain to fall on already heavily saturated ground, and resulting in major flooding incidents across the Upper Valley, with over 43mm of rainfall. This caused surface water flooding but did not result in high river levels.  Again, saturated ground caused water to run off the hillsides. Nutclough dam overtopped and there was extensive flooding in Keighley Road. Rubble and silt from the hillsides blocked drains and culverts. Around 100 homes and businesses suffered, some for a second time.

25 Aug 2012

Again, flash flooding affected the Jumble Hole area from Blackshawhead to Callis Bridge, causing additional flooding to properties across the Upper Valley. Substantial quantities of silt and rubble were deposited in Burnley Road and surrounded nearby terraced properties. The drainage system on Burnley Road was unable to cope and the Fire Service spent several hours pumping water into the river.

31 Dec 2012

Flooding caused by run-off down Hebble End was avoided in Market Street, Hebden Bridge, due to CMBC staff and volunteers working together to divert the flow and keeping drains and street gullies clear of debris.

29 July 2013

Large storm clouds brought heavy rainfall to the Upper Valley which was affected from a number of sources.  The communities worst affected were those immediately adjacent to Walsden Water and the River Calder, impacting on Walsden, Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.  Two watercourses located above Kershaw Road Walsden were unable to cope with the level of flow and suffered severe erosion, overloading and blocking the drainage system. Excess surface water from the damaged culverts spilled onto the railway line at Walsden Station, flooding properties along Rochdale Road. Birks Clough overtopped, and this water combined with excess rain run-off from surrounding hills then flooded properties along and adjacent to Burnley Road.

8 July 2014

Rain in Elland caused highway disruption and 1 property flooded.

19 Dec 2014

Surface water caused 9 properties across the area to suffer some degree of flooding, with a further 6 properties narrowly missing being flooded.

31 Mar 2015

Ripponden Old Bank is closed following localised flooding as a result of a blocked culvert.

14 Nov 2015

Extensive rain caused road closures due to flooding on Burnley Road, Todmorden, Centre Vale Park was used as a flood plain. Flooding on the road also occurred at Eastwoods, Mytholm, Mytholmroyd, Brierley, Kebroyd on the Halifax Rd to Ripponden, Burnley Rd just outside Hebden Bridge, Burnley Road in Todmorden and the A58 near the junctions with the A641 and at Chain Bar due to localised flooding.

Some premises suffered minor flooding especially due to run-off from hilltops.

12 Dec 2015

Surface Flooding throughout. Walsden, Cornholme, Todmorden, Callis, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge and Brighouse. River levels on the River Calder were high but breached only in Sowerby Bridge. River Hebden breached flooding Oldgate in Hebden Bridge and contributing to the flooding in Market Street. Roads suffered from surface rain water and drainage systems unable to cope.

In Hebden Bridge serious flooding was avoided due to CMBC staff and volunteers working together to divert traffic and keeping drains and street gullies clear of debris.

26 Dec 2015

Over Christmas and Boxing Day, Pennine areas had over 60mm of rain fall in 24 hours and some locations had over 100 mm. Many of these locations had already seen over twice their usual amount of rainfall in December and this followed an extremely wet November. Many locations along the River Calder saw highest ever recorded river levels.

The flooding on 26 December 2015 occurred when rivers rose rapidly because the ground was already saturated from previous heavy rain. Many of the Environment Agency's measuring stations recorded the highest river levels ever seen. In excess of  2,781 homes and 4,416 businesses were seriously affected with a building washed away in Mytholmroyd and Elland Bridge seriously wrecked. In addition to this a number of substations, schools, roads and bridges were also damaged. Unlike previous floods, communities further down the valley including Sowerby Bridge, Elland and Brighouse were also seriously flooded.

21 Nov 2016

Excess rain running from the tops caused surface water flooding in several locations across the Valley, in particular Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge. Crisis was averted in several locations thanks to the efforts of local volunteers though a small number of suffered minor flooding especially due to run-off from hilltops.