An Account of the Great Floods in the Rivers Tyne, Tees, Wear, Eden, &c. in … By William Garret 1818


Sunday morning, the 17th of November, about two o’clock, with the wind at East, the inhabitants of Newcastle upon Tyne were alarmed with the most dreadful inundation that ever befel that part of the country; the water in the Tyne rising six feet higher than a remarkable flood in the year 1763 occasioned.

The first dawn of day discovered a scene of horror and devastation, too dreadful for words to express, or humanity to behold, without shuddering …

The flood was so rapid and sudden, that it was with the greatest difficulty the inhabitants, who slept in the lower parts of their houses, escaped with their lives. But what completed the public calamity, was, the fall of Tyne Bridge, which, having stood the brunt of time for upwards of five hundred years, yielded to the force and impetuosity of this flood. The middle arch of Tyne Bridge, and two other arches near to the South side of the water, were carried away, and seven houses, with shops standing thereon, together with some of the inhabitants, with their whole stocks, overwhelmed in immediate destruction.

The bed of the river Tyne being entirely altered by the flood, the Master and Brethren of the Trinity House ordered the pilots to make a survey of the new channel, in order to qualify themselves to lay the buoys in the proper places, that ships might be conducted up and down with the usual safety

But Newcastle did not alone suffer by the violence of this flood: Hardly a village or cottage-house from Tyne-head, in Alston Moor, to Shields, escaped its destructive fury. It was impossible to ascertain the prodigious number of horses, black cattle, sheep, and other animals that perished, and of corn and hay-stacks, hedges, fences, implements of husbandry, and whole acres of ground, which were swept away by the impetuosity of the torrent, whereby families who had lived in affluence and plenty were now reduced to the most abject misery and want. Those from whose racked heart every comfort is torn, humanity may’ soften, though she cannot remove their grief

Hexham — The vast deluge they had there by the inundation of the river Tyne was almost beyond expression, though it did very little damage to Hexham town, as they were pretty far out of water-mark; but the low fields and haughs near Hexham, belonging to the inhabitants, suffered greatly; most of them were gardens, which were all left only beds of sand and wreck. Besides part of the land adjoining the river being taken away, a great quantity of corn and hay-stacks were destroye

Sunderland — The flood in the river Wear was nearly as violent as in the Tyne. On the Saturday morning it began to rain, and continued without intermission till next morning. As this rain was far from being violent, no bad consequence was apprehended. Day-break presented a shocking scene; thirty-four ships wrecked upon the bar, and on the north and south sand. Many men and boys were drowned. A part of the pier gave way to the force of the water, and another part was damaged by the ships which drove against it. Shocking accounts were received from the staiths; many of the inhabitants being saved, by unroofing the houses, and taking them out in boats. Three collieries were filled with water by the river breaking in.

Chester-le-Street— The water at Chester-le-Street extended near 200 yards, from north to south in the street, and did considerable damage to the dwelling-houses and shops there.

Durham — Two houses at the end of Framwellgate Bridge were entirely swept away. The new bridge, and one of the Abbey mills, shared the same fate.


Stockton — n the Saturday night there was the greatest flood in the river Tees that was ever known in the memory of man. The flood at Stockton, though greater than ever remembered, did not do much damage; one warehouse, and two or three cellars, with liquor, were under water. As soon as the flood was discovered at Stockton, carriages were procured to take two boats over land to Yarm, with some experienced sailors, who, thereby, saved the lives of many.


Appkby — On the Saturday, about three o’clock in the afternoon, the river Eden began to rise, and swelled higher than ever was known, so that foot passengers could not get along the road. The rain began the preceding day, and continued that night, next day, and till a little after eleven at night, which being the market day, many people were detained in town.





Hexham, 19th December, 1771

That a Committee of thirty-three Gentlemen and Clergymen, residing near to the river Tyne, where the principal damage was done, be appointed and authorised to distribute, amongst the sufferers by the late inundation, all the money which shall be raised by this subscription; and that the Committee be desired to use their endeavours to be truly informed, not only of the loss which individuals have suffered, but also of the present condition and circumstances of the sufferers, that the distribution of the money to be collected may bear proportion to the necessity of the receivers.


After a continued succession of frost and snow since the 17th of November, a rapid thaw, accompanied with rain, commenced on Thursday the 28th of December, and continued the whole of Friday, when, towards the evening of that day, the wind began to blow with great violence from the westward and south west. During the course of the night, the gale increased in a most alarming and excessive degree, and particularly towards midnight and next morning, when it blew with all the fury of a tornado. Many chimnies were in consequence blown down, and roofs injured; the half finished roof of a house on the Windmill Hills being completely blown away.

But the many accidents of this kind arising from the gale, are not worthy of recording, when compared to the severe and widespread injury occasioned by the overflowing of the river. For the immense accumulation of snow on the hills, amongst which both branches of the river flow, and indeed, on the whole face of the country, being suddenly melted through the united powers of the thaw and wind, the river Tyne, with all its tributary streams, was, in consequence, swelled to an extraordinary height; and the rapidity of its course being greatly increased by the violence of the wind, it rolled along a resistless torrent, overflowing its banks and overwhelming every thing within its reach.

So great a flood has not been known in this river since the flood in 1771, which carried away Tyne Bridge; but though the river did not, on Saturday, rise to so great a height, yet the injury which has been sustained does not probably fall far short of that sustained on the former occasion. The water was at its greatest height about five o’clock on Saturday morning

To describe, however, in detail, the severe losses which have been sustained by many individuals, would be impossible. Many horses and cows have been drowned, both in their pastures and stalls; and the quantity of sheep which have been drowned and washed away is very great. The loss of the latter animal is particularly severe, from the circumstance of its being the season of the year when they are put to fatten on the turnips, and the fields of that plant, along both banks of the Tyne, containing great quantities of sheep.

We have not been able to ascertain the comparative heights between this flood and that of 1771; the different accounts being so contradictory. Whilst we are told that at the West Boat, near Hexham, it was only one foot below what it was on that occasion, at Ovingham we are told it was five feet, and at Lemington three feet below it. It is however extremely probable, that in storms of this nature the depth of the river varies considerably at different places. The flood appears to have gained its greatest height about five o’clock on Saturday morning, and to have afterwards gradually subsided, so that in the evening its appearance here presented nothing remarkable.

Great damage was also done by this storm on the banks of the Tees and Wear. The effects, indeed, of this sudden thaw, have been severely felt in most places. All the low grounds were overflowed, and many of the inhabitants were roused from their sleep by the water entering their beds.

Durham, Jan. 6 — About three o’clock on Saturday morning, the paper mill of Mr. Lumley, situate at Butterby, about three miles from this city, was blown down. The building extended across a valley, and was in length about 100 feet, the upper part being constructed of wood, and brick pillars, the lower or ground floor, of stone. The wind, sweeping along the vale with irresistible force, had taken the building at its broadside, and tore away the entire roof and the whole of the upper story, or drying rooms; in fact, nothing remained standing but the two gable ends, and the walls of the lower rooms.

Sunderland, Jan. 4 — On Saturday morning last, at Sunderland, the gale was most tempestuous. The chimnies of a large house in Spring Gardens, were blown down, and falling against the Theatre, carried in part of the roof.

Great swellings of the rivers have also been experienced at Leeds and Manchester, and particularly at the latter place, where the river Irwell attained a height unknown before, exceeding by five inches the great flood of 1768. The loss to the several occupiers of works exposed to its influence is incalculable.

The Scotch papers furnish us with accounts of many rivers there having overflowed their banks. The lower stories of the houses in Bridge-gate-street, Glasgow, were laid under water. Two bridges over the Avon were washed away.

Severe flooding is not new. Neither is it new for governments to blame ACTS OF NATURE for severe flooding, when, in reality, the threat of severe flooding is the result of not enough money being spent on flood defences.  All governments have only ever applied a sticky plaster to the underlying causes of flooding – the building and farming on flood plains. The only serious money spent on flood defences was on the Thames Barrier, which protects Parliament.  If Parliament was situated in York, that city would be similarly protected, and sod London. It must be comforting for MP’s to know that, as they sit in the Common’s bars sipping champagne, they are in a safer place than many people in Cumbria and Yorkshire.

Sod everyone but themselves.

lenin nightingale 2016









About leninnightingale

A nurse who for decades challenged the nursing establishment, echoing the voices of the silent many- the downtrodden nurses, students, care assistants, patients, and relatives that the 'system' overlooks. This site will present issues that many fear to engage in, prefering to believe what they are told by the Government's 'Ministry of Truth' (i.e. 'Lies').
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