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The Floods of New Year's Eve 1900 at Lydney.

Newerne Street, Lydney

Two photos taken by A. J. Lumbert of the floods of 1900 in the Lydney area.
Above: Newerne Street, the sign says: "Bridge Inn, Good Stabling, by A Nelmes"
Below: New Mills.

New Mills in flood in 1899The following is an extract from a report in Gloucester Journal, Saturday, 05 January, 1901

The last day of the 19th Century will be well remembered by the Inhabitants of Lydney, who awoke to find the greater part of Newerne-street converted into a deep and violent torrent. The numerous streams that descend into the Valley of the Lyd had augmented the main stream to such an extent that the water had to make its way through the houses of Newerne -- in at the back doors, and out at the front -- with a force almost incredible. Those whose curiosity led them up the valley a mile or so were rewarded with sights which are only equalled by an Alpine mountain torrent. The large dams at the Middle Forge and New Mills were converted into really grand waterfalls, as the ordinary overflow sluices were quite inadequate to cope with the tremendous volume of water. At the New Mills, the scene was especially grand, as the surrounding steep, wooded hills and cliffs harmonised well with the rush and roar of the great though temporary waterfall. There was destruction of hay and livestock, besides complete stoppage of work.

At Middle Forge, a fowl house, the property of Mr. Thomas Downing, was overturned and eleven fowls found a watery grave. Mr. Johnson Denby, at the Dairy Farm, who grazes a quantity of land on the Lydney Meads, experienced an exciting time, but was fortunately successful in folding his herds. From Lydney, down through Aylburton, Alvington, and Woolaston to Chepstow, all the land admoining the river was submerged, and the country presented a very extraordinary appearance.


There was a slip from the cliff overhanging the Great Western main line near the Severn Bridge. The fall of "muck" and roots was observed by the watchman, Mr. William Barrington, about 11.30 at night, and he succeded in stopping the up mail by placing detonators on the rails. The obstruction was not cleared for an hour. The up mail suffered a second delay of an hour and a half on the tunnel side of Newnham station owing to the temporary submerging of the line during the heaviest of the torrential rain. On Monday morning there were further slips from the high banks near Awre, and the first up passenger train was delayed for a brief period. The line of telegraph wires crossing from the Severn Bridge near Purton was broken by the fall of an enormous tree.


Two of the few residents at Gatcombe suffered from the heavy rain to an extensive degree. In the case of Mr. Charles Morse, of Court House, the heavy web forced the high embankment wall close to Mr. Morse's house right out against the dwelling. Many tons of masonry were dislodged, and an enormous quantity of earth from the orchard above has fallen with a portion of the house. The other, and even larger slip, if less serious as regards actual damage, occurred to the premises of Mr. William Taylor, whose house is also pretty close to the overhanging cliffs. About midnight an enormous landslip from an orchard in the occupation of Mr. Arthur Fryer came into Mr. Taylor's garden, carrying with it fruit trees and fences. Portions of it fell on top of the back kitchen roof and against the side door, tumbling right into the kitchen when, unconscious of the impending danger, it was open by Mr. Taylor.

Bob Philpot added: "... At that time the River Lyd would have meandered through a marshland on what is now Lydney Cricket Club and the surrounding area. It was because of the floods in the early 20th Century that the River Lyd was redug and straightened about 20 years later. At that time it also provided work for local men during the strike and recession. My grandfather was one of those who dug out the river. I think the lake was also envisaged as a means of flood control as well as a local amenity".

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