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Press Cuttings

Local newpaper reports of the 1968 flooding in Hampsthwaite  on 2nd July 1968

Cleaning up and drying out at Hampsthwaite today . . . Mr. Frank Shuffe, licensee of the Joiners' Arms, is seen hanging out sodden carpets. He had 4ft. of water in his cellars.
JOHN SHUFFE, one of the many volunteers who helped shopkeepers and householdersWAIST-DEEP in water, young soldiers from the Army Apprentices College, Harrogate, battle to clear tree stumps and other obstructions in the centre of Hampsthwaite, the main cause of flooding in the village.AFTERMATH, - Parts of stone walls and garden sheds are among the debris left afer the flood waters had subsided in Hollins Lane, Hampsthwaite on Tuesday.

Click to enlarge scan of original article - click for full size image
Click to enlarge scan of original article

Stricken Dales village breathes again
By Darby Tredger.

Villagers of storm stricken Hampsthwaite. near Harrogate, were recovering their breath today after yesterday's storm, which hit them with the violence of an exploding bomb. Many are still suffering from shock; particularly older residents who were trapped in their houses. Scenes of devastation remain today as householders and owners of business premises were mopping up and trying to clear thick, oily sludge which had found its stay into cupboards, drawers, cars and many other places.

At one stage, a 4ft.-high wall of water from a swollen beck swept down the village towards the flooded river Nidd from the corner of Hollins Lane. People were trapped in their houses, and others took refuge in upstairs rooms to see their belongings being swept away by flood water. The most graphic story told today was that of Mrs. Margaret Grant, of Brook Cottage, past which tiny Cockhill Beck flows - the cause of all the trouble.

Mrs. Grant said: "The water poured through the back door and I shouted to my children Jamie (16 months) and Clare, his sister (2), to go upstairs. Within seconds the water was up to my shoulders in the kitchen. It was like a tidal wave and engulfed the house. The children were sitting, on the stairs and to my horror I saw Jamie swept off. He disappeared into the flood-water. I managed to grab him as he surfaced and got him and Clare upstairs out of danger. The boy was half conscious and I was terrified. It was a minute before I got any sign of life out of him at all and he was blue in the face", she added.

Villagers today paid glowing tributes to the salvage and rescue work of boy soldiers and staff from the Army Apprentices College at Harrogate and personnel from the Forest Moor Naval Station - near Darley, came with pumps and other equipment. At the height of the storm, according to Harrogate police today. a woman who was staying in the village was found dead in bed. She was Mrs. Eileen Springer (70). a widow of Cambridge Road, Seven Kings. Essex.

Click to enlarge scan of original article - click for full size image
Click to enlarge scan of original article

Lower Nidderdale havoc

ONE OF THE MOST violent thunderstorms in living memory hit Lower Nidderdale villages on Tuesday, bringing chaos to roads and causing damage to property which may run into thousands of pounds. Floodwater poured into houses, shops and business premises in a number of villages, while giant hailstones - almost as large as golf balls - brought devastation to gardens, woodland, agricultural and horticultural land.

Worst hit was Hampsthwaite, where thousands of gallons of dark-brown floodwater surged through the streets like a tidal wave, flooding homes, shops and business premises to a depth of several feet. One resident de-scribed the scene as being "like a boiling sea", while others could only express shock at the speed with which it all occurred and at the damage caused. Where flooding did not cause damage, giant hailstones created havoc. At Ripley every house suffered at least one broken window. and many houses had almost all their windows smashed. Ripley Castle grounds had more than 400 panes of glass broken, and in the surrounding villages leaves were stripped from trees, shrubs and plants, and garden plants flattened.

Crops scythed flat
Farm crops like corn. beet and potatoes were scythed flat In minutes by the hail, causing tremendous losses to farmers, and walls. fences, road surfaces, garden shrills and other outbuildings were shattered and swept away by floodwater.

At Hampsthwaite the scene on Tuesday was one of utter devastation, with furniture, carpets. foodstuffs, trees, walls and remains of garden sheds and poultry houses littering the streets. Inside houses in High Street, and at the corner of Hollins Lane, a thick layer of greasy mud covered everything where the floodwater had been at depths of up to four feet. Men from the Royal Navy Station of H.M.S. Forest Moor, near Darley, and from the Army Apprentices’ College, at Harrogate, were drafted into the village to help householders to salvage belongings and clear up the mess.

It was mid-morning when the storm broke. with a dense darkening of the sky, which was quickly followed by a tremendous downpour of rain and hail. Becks were rapidly swollen to flood level. and burst their banks when thousands of gallons of water surged into them from fields and roads.

Mrs. M. Grant, who lives at the side of Cockhill Beck (in the centre of Hampsthwaite), told a staff reporter that she looked out of her back door and saw the beck, a few feet away, rising rapidly. She turned round to go back through her kitchen when water burst through the door, almost sweeping her off her feet.

“Like a tidal wave”
“The water poured through the house like a tidal wave”, said Mrs. Grant, “I shouted to my children – Jamie (16 months) and Clare (2) to go upstairs. Within seconds the water was about three feet deep, and as I rushed forward to the children, I tripped and caught my foot. The children were on the stairs, and to my horror I saw Jamie swept off and disappear under the water. I managed to grab him as he surfaced. and then got him, Clare and my niece, who was with me, upstairs and out of danger. Jamie was only half-conscious and I was terrified. I tried everything I could to revive him, and it was at least a minute before I got any sign of life out of him at all. Even when I got him upstairs his face was white, and it was about an hour before he was back to normal. From then on I sat on the bed with the children singing nursery rhymes to try and keep them from being frightened”. Mrs. Grant stayed in the bedroom until the water had subsided and neighbours and other helpers arrived.

A 70-year-old widow, Mrs. Eileen Springer. of Seven Kings, Essex, was found in the bedroom of Lamb Cottage, Hampsthwaite. She had been staying at the cottage with her sister-in-law. When Harrogate Fire Brigade arrived after receiving a call that Mrs. Springer was trapped in the cottage, It was found that the ambulance had been unable to reach it. After a field car and a breakdown wagon had made unsuccessful attempts to reach the cottage, firemen went down the street in a tractor-drawn trailer driven by Mr. Clive Harris, of Vale Terrace. Hampsthwaite, who works on the farm of Mr. George Fawcett, at Killinghall. They reached the cottage and found Mrs. Springer in the bedroom. She appeared to be dead. A fireman who took down a door from a house across the road to use as a stretcher was almost swept away with the door. Eventually they got a door and carried Mrs. Springer out on it. She was taken to the ambulance. A post-mortem examination showed that death was due to coronary thrombosis.

Mr. J. E. Lundell, proprietor of the Corner Shop at the junction of High Street and Hollins Lane, said he was in his shop when floodwater rushed in from both the front and the back. A the back, Cockhill Beck came over its banks and into store-rooms, while water from High Street poured in at the front door, ruining foodstuffs, cigarettes and other articles. "There were chocolates, cigarettes and biscuits floating everywhere", said Mrs. Lundell, who was helping her husband at the time. AlI the lower shelves in the shop were swept clean by the flood, and goods were carried out into the street.

Through both doors
Mr. and Mrs. P. R. Morgan, who live at the Old Cottage, Hollins Lane, on the opposite side of Cockhill Beck to the Corner Shop, had water pouring in through both the front and back doors, and in one of the windows which faces the beck. “It was tremendous", said Mrs. Morgan "but there was nothing we could do. I had just been out to open the gate. as I could see that the beck was rising, hoping that this would let the water through without it being deflected towards the house". Within minutes the volume of water was so great that it swept down the garden wall and poured into the main road.

At the top of High Street, the village postman. Mr, H. Barker, lost a complete poultry house measuring 24 feet by 12 feet, and all the poultry inside. Mr. Barker said there were about 40 birds in the house, including chickens, bantams. and ducklings. He also lost about 20 pigeons which roosted on the building, and two motor-cycles in another shed were swept away as well. Two dogs he had in kennels in the garden had a lucky escape. An Alsatian broke down the door of its kennel and escaped before the water reached it, and a terrier chained up in an outbuilding was rescued by an unknown workman who fought his way through waist deep floodwater to release it.

Memorial Hall flooded
Hampsthwaite's new Memorial Hail was also flooded in the storm, but only to a nominal degree. Thick brown mud coated floors and skirting boards, and officials on Wednesday were trying to assess whether there was any damage. The chairman of the Hall Committee, Mr. E. Atkinson, said it was hoped the water would not lift the floor of the main hail, but added that any damage of that natures. would not be known until after drying out.

All residents were high in their praise of the Navy and Army Apprentices in helping with the clearing-up.

A mini-car was washed along the street at the lower end of the village, and was prevented from being swept away only when the owner spotted it on the move and rushed into the water to push it clear. Other cars on the roadside were almost covered by the water, and rocks and other debris built up around and underneath them.

A six foot wall, a coal-house and nearly two tons of coal inside it were washed away from a house next to the school as the water plunged on towards the River Nidd. Children were trapped in the village school for a while as floodwater flowed on all sides at the building, and everywhere people were desperately trying to save household items from the flood.

Numerous other house, garage premises and the Joiners Arms were also flooded. House had floodwater varying from a few feet deep to a matter of inches in them, and their occupants, where possible, waded through to carry furniture into the streets and to higher ground. A lot of furniture was damaged, and numerous electrical appliances were ruined.

In other houses, especially where the occupants were elderly people refuge was sought in upstairs rooms, while volunteer helpers from other parts of the village did what they could by way of salvage work.

All roads in and out of Hampsthwaite were flooded. some running like rivers, while on the road to Clint hailstones lay over two feet thick.

Greenhouses wrecked
Away from Hampsthwaite the devastation was as bad. though towards Harrogate it was caused by the hail rather than by floods.

At Killinghall hundreds of windows were shattered, and at Daleside Nurseries on the main Ripon Road greenhouses covering half an acre were almost totally wrecked. One of the Joint proprietors, Mr. K. W. Darley, said it was impossible to estimate it. Over all 10 acres of the grounds the devastation was the same. Alpine plants, tomatoes, trees and shrubs were stripped of foliage and ruined. Special plants in one of the greenhouses which were prepared for the Great Yorkshire Show were also ruined.

On the other side of the valley, at Shaw Mills, the Nelson Arms Inn and several houses were flooded when the beck broke its banks. Coupled with the floodwater was effluent from tanks at two animal skin processing mills in the village. This mixture of water and effluent flowed into the Nelson Arms at almost window-sill height, and flooded the cellars spoiling barrels of beer and other drinks. The landlord, Mr. H. Thompson. said he had no idea the what the damage was in terms cash. The car park was ripped up by floodwater, and Mr. Thompson almost lost his car as a wave at water hit it and started to sweep it down the valley. He saved it by fastening a rope to it and towing it clear with a tractor.

Two cottages opposite the Inn were flooded, as also were several cottages at Clint Terrace, further up the village. Law Lane, which connects Shaw Mills with Ripley on the main bus route, was closed to traffic as the road was ripped up for a distance of several yards by the force of the flood. Lower down the road, the village sewage works were inundated and sewage was swept down the valley on the tide of floodwater.

Kettlesing road closed
At Kettlesing, several yards of road was ripped up outside the Queen's Head Hotel, and the road was later closed while repairs were carried out. The village telephone box stood in three to four feet of water, and the parapet of a bridge in the centre of the village was swept away by a three foot high wall of water that surged through the streets.

Birstwith was flooded in varous places near the flour mill, and fire engines pumped water from cottages on the-roadside. Gardens were laid fiat as water poured from fields onto the roads, and piles of gravel and mud accumulated on roads.

Further up the Dale conditions improved, and beyond Pateley Bridge there was only minor flooding on roads and fields.

At Hartwith private road entrances from the main Pateley Bridge to Harrogate Road were ripped up in large slabs as floodwater sought the lower parts of the valley.

At Darley, huge piles of gravel and soil piled up on the main road as water swept from higher ground.

Flooding occurred at Summer-bridge, where large sections of wall on the side of the main road just outside the village in the Harrogate direction were swept down.

Between Dacre Parish Church and the Nidd Valley sawmills at Dacre Banks the road was under several feet of water, and a number of vehicles were held up. Only heavy traffic and field cars could make any progress in the floods.

Drains burst
At Wilsill. the main road was under several feet of water for a time, and at Glasshouses, a short distance away, the main road was like a river. Drains burst in the backyards of houses at Glasshouses Crossroads and swept through gardens and outbuildings. Between Glasshouses and Bewerley on the lower road up the Dale were several more floods, mostly impassible for a short time.

Floodwater collected at the bottom of Pateley Bridge High Street and on the road by the Recreation ground but no damage or hold-up was caused.

Even the third highest village in England. Greenhow Hill, experienced some flooding. The Miners' Arms Hotel had water running on floor but generally this area and the whole of Upper Nidderdale escaped with only minor flooding.

At the lower end of the Dale, Wednesday was a day for reckoning the cost and clearing up the remainder of the mud and debris that the Army, Navy and hundreds of villagers could not deal with the previous day. Carpets were taken away for drying by the Army Apprentices College and workmen from the Nidderdale Rural Council cleared lorry loads of mud, trees and rubbish from the road sides.

As many residents of Hampsthwaite, Ripley and Killinghall - the worst-hit of the whole area - began to take stock. all were firm on one thing; nothing like it had been experienced in living memory. Late on Wednesday evening when a staff reporter toured the area. a cheeriness was creeping back into the people of these stricken villages as the last bits and pieces were cleared away and there was only the cost left to count,

Called from holiday
Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Jackson, of Hartwith Mill Cottage, Burnt Yates, were called back from holiday at Bridlington to find their home devastated by five feet of water.

Alone in the house at the time, Mr Jackson’s father, Mr. C. Jackson, took refuge in a bedroom while downstairs the flood wrecked every stick of furniture", of all the damage I have seen", an eye-witness told a staff reporter, “this is the worst".

The toll road by which the cottage stands was so badly damaged as to be made impassable.

Press Cuttings

Local newpaper reports of the 1968 flooding in Hampsthwaite  on 2nd July 1968