Monday, 8 September 2008

The Great Flood

When visiting the Big Lamp Brewery last week, I passed by a pub called The Boathouse (see pic), which is right on the bank of the river.
The pub has a claim to fame because of a tenuous connection with George Stephenson, the father of railways. He worked at a pit nearby, tending the pumping engine.
Of more legitimate historical interest are the marks scored into the stonework on the side of the pub, indicating the levels reached by the water during successive inundations of the river.

The weather having been so wet this summer, I thought it quite topical to reflect on this. No matter how bad the weather has been, it has not yet approached the levels of the Great Flood of 1771, which swept away all the bridges over the Tyne, including Newcastle's medieval bridge which had many houses and shops on it, except the "new" bridge (as it then was) at Corbridge.

Standing beside the mark, I found it to be over my head and on a level with the extractor fans in the pub windows as shown in the photo above. Incredible to imagine the water reaching such a level, especially as the bank outside the pub is quite steep and the present river level some feet below the riverside footpath.

Global warming? I don't think so!

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