Project Description

On 11 March 1864, just before midnight, the Dale Dyke Dam collapsed and a great flood surged through parts of Sheffield in Yorkshire, causing extensive property damage and killing about 270 people. The affected area stretched from the dam, through the Loxley Valley, on through Malin Bridge and Hillsborough to the Sheffield town centre.  The enquiry afterwards determined that the dam construction was defective and the resulting claims for damages formed one of the largest insurance payouts of the 19th century.  There were approximately 7000 claims filed and almost £274,000 in damages was awarded.

One of the homes in the path of the flood belonged to my three times great-grandfather John Harris. He was awarded £500 in damages, and then the neighbours came forward.

Published in Your Family History in March 2013