The Great Flood at Sheffield
-  MARCH 11th  2014  - 

 Important News!!! Page Last Updated:  9 - Mar - 14
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On March 11th 1864 - shortly before midnight - the newly built Dale Dyke Dam - situated in the Bradfield hills just outside Sheffield - collapsed. A colossal mountain of water thundered down the Loxley valley and on to Sheffield wreaking death and destruction on a horrific scale. The greatest devastation took place in the Malin Bridge, Hillsborough, and Owlerton areas. Excepting wars, this is now acknowledged as one of the biggest man-made disasters in British history, and has been recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.

Ruins of the Malin Bridge Inn
OPPOSITE: The ruins of the Malin Bridge Inn shortly after the flood. Here seven members of the Bisby family were drowned and washed away by the flood-waters. The body of the landlord - George Bisby, and those of two daughters, were found several days later at Sheffield; those of the other four Bisbys were never identified.

The following day, Emma Bisby - a daughter who had not been at home that night - was seen, 'in great distress' and 'eyes red with tears', searching amongst the rubble for whatever remains she could find of her home - and her lost family.

     IMPORTANT NEWS!!!     

A series of events have been arranged, and will take place in the early weeks of March 2014, to commemorate the 150th anniversary - for full details see 'Programme of Events', below:



Programme of Events

Details of exhibition to be held 8th and 9th March:

The exhibition will be held in the Lower Bradfield Village Hall
- 4pm

The following groups/organisations will be in attendance at the exhibition;

Bradfield Parish Council
Bradfield Historical Society
Bradfield Brewery
Institution of Civil Engineers/British Dam Society
Sheffield Archives
Sheffield Museums Trust
Toffee Music
Great Sheffield Flood Ancestry

Bradfield Parish Council

The Parish Council are to install a plaque which will be located on the roadside wall outside the Parish Council Offices. This plaque marks the use of the building as a temporary school following the flood. There are other plaques on the route of the flood and further information on these can be obtained at the exhibition.

Bradfield Historical Society

Have produced a commemorative tankard and plate. These will be available to purchase at the exhibition at a cost of tankard £7, plate £10 or £15 for both (post and packaging extra).

Refreshments will be on sale both days


Other Events

Peak Park will be providing walks commencing from the village hall at 11:00am and 2:00pm on both days.

Monday 3rd March

Illustrated talk by Malcolm Nunn at 7:30pm at Low Bradfield Village Hall.

Thursday 6th March

The institution of Civil Engineers and the British Dam Society will be holding a free public talk at 6:30pm at Sheffield University.

(For free booking, or further info, email: or phone: 0114 2325044)

Saturday 8th March

St Nicholas' Church will be open 10:00am-4:00pm. Visitors will be able to see the flood plaque, flood graves, and church registers from 1864.

Sunday 9th March

St Nicholas’ Church High Bradfield will hold a service at 10:30am that will include memorial prayers. Guest preacher will be the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Crofts. In attendance will be the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Cllr Vickie Priestley, and the Chair of Bradfield Parish Council, Cllr Stuart Cole.

Tuesday 11th March

Guided walk at 10:30am from Low Bradfield Village car park to Dale Dyke and return around 12:30pm. The walk to re-commence at 1:30pm for High Bradfield, to view flood graves and the Church – return around 3:30pm.
(No need to book a place - just turn up!)


Also at 10:30am The Lord Mayor - Councillor Vicky Priestley - is laying a floral tribute on the memorial to the victims of the Sheffield Flood on its 150th Anniversary.
The memorial is outside the UKBA's Vulcan House -main entrance- Millsands (near Lady's Bridge) and we want as many people to turn out as possible.

More details are available from Ron Clayton -


Also at 12 noon:

A day of live art by Sheffield Artists to commemorate the Great Sheffield Flood of 1864

Painters, sculptors, craftspersons, street artists, poets and musicians will create/perform contemporary works of art/music *LIVE*. Inspired by, and reflecting upon, a collection of original photographs of the aftermath of the flood, some of which have never been published. Artists will be creating works until 6pm. The day is completed with a private view from 6:30pm - 9:30pm featuring Live music.

The event will take place at 99 Mary Street, Sheffield, S1 4RT.


Tuesday (11th) evening at St. Polycarp's Church

Malin Bridge Remembers

7:00pm. Welcome Drinks
7:30pm Illustrated talk by local historian Malcolm Nunn
8:30pm Short Service at the memorial.

Wednesday 12th March

Guided walk at 10:30am from Malin Bridge Supertram Terminus up the Loxley Valley and finishing near to Damflask Reservoir Embankment around 1:00pm.
(No need to book a place - just turn up!)

Sunday 16th March

11:00am. Meet the shade of Mrs Armitage - landlady of The Stag Inn at St Ploycarp's Church.
11:30am Continue with tour around Malin Bridge by local historian, Ron Clayton, including the site of Trickett's Farm, Methodist Chapel and role of the Yew Tree Inn.
1:00pm Finish at the MALIN BRIDGE INN.
(No need to book a place - just turn up!)

Wednesday (19th) at The Malin Bridge Inn

Malin Bridge Remembers - Part 2

7:30pm Illustrated talk (Sheffield Flood Part 2) by local historian Malcolm Nunn
(No need to book a place - just turn up!)


The Great Sheffield Flood Website:

This website has been set up by keen flood enthusiast Mick Armitage and he will also be in attendance at the exhibition to discuss any points you may wish to raise.


The Sheffield Flood plates and tankards that will be available to purchase at the exhibition:

Click to Enlarge

This project is a collaboration between Bradfield Parish Council, Bradfield Historical Society, various other groups/organisations and enthusiasts.

(Please Note: This is NOT a commercial site, but one generated by a local group of people who merely wish to stage a befitting series of events to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Sheffield Flood.)

We are appealing for anyone who has memorabilia relating to the disaster to consider loaning or bringing it along to display at the exhibition. If you can in any way help, or contribute, please contact:

Bradfield Parish Council, Council Offices, Mill Lee Road, Low Bradfield, Sheffield S6 6LB

Tel: 0114-2851375 or e-mail:


Also, as part of a number of years research, Karen Lightowler has identified, and made contact with, many descendants of the flood victims. They are to be invited to attend the events as special guests.

If you are a descendant of anyone connected with the flood and have not previously been in contact with us Karen would be pleased to hear from you.

Bradfield Parish Council  
Karen Lightowler

The Malin Bridge Inn and other ruins on Holme LaneOPPOSITE: Immediately behind the shattered building in the centre of the picture runs Holme Lane (Malin Bridge to the left, Hillsborough to the right). To the right of this building, and on the far side of Holme Lane, can once again be seen the ruins of Malin Bridge Inn. On the extreme left of the picture are the foundations of The Stag Inn - the building having been totally washed away. From here died 12 members of the Armitage family; and the family tomb stone, naming all the deceased, is shown below: it stands in the Loxley Old Chapel church-yard, and indicates that 5 of the children were never found.
The Armitage family grave headstone
The Armitage family grave headstone
- at Loxley Old Chapel
Plaster-cast deathmask of Joseph Goddard
A plaster-cast death mask of
flood victim Joseph Goddard

Joseph Goddard was a neighbour of the Armitages at Malin Bridge. Writing in the months following the flood, Samuel Harrison records an event that occurred in a dwelling about a mile further down the valley - at Owlerton:

'The flood burst open the door, and washed into the house the body of a man. A lodger named Ashton saw it first, and called out to Mr. Shaw that a pig had been swept into the house. On closer inspection it was found to be the body of a man, entirely naked, the shirt being torn off, and hanging only by the button on the wrist-band. The body was that of Joseph Goddard . . . '

   The Great Flood at Sheffield - 1864  - a comprehensive Web Site about the 'Flood'

This project is a collaboration between Bradfield Parish Council, Bradfield Historical Society,
various other groups/organisations and enthusiasts

Site created: November 2012 Events: March 2014 
  Free counter and web stats   Mick Armitage (e-mail)