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The Great Tyne Floods Of 1771 & 1815

February 2, 2016

By Paul Homewood





The history books are littered with examples of weather disasters, such as floods and storms. But unlike today, when there is wall to wall media coverage, few such events in the distant past have more than a passing reference.

One exception,though, is the great floods that hit Northumberland in 1771 and later in 1815. According to the Teeside Mercury, the disasters prompted William Garret, a Newcastle bookseller and occasional author, to write a book about it. His slim volume ‘An Account of the Great Floods in the Rivers Tyne, Tees, Wear, Eden &c in 1771 and 1815′ was published in Newcastle in 1818.

Garret himself acknowledges his debt to a certain John Adamson, who made a loan of many original documents relating to the earlier flood.


The following extracts give a good idea of how the floods affected the local population:






































The flood of 1815 was nearly as bad:







Then, just as now, people had no choice but to get on with their lives. But how much worse was it then, when they only had God to blame?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Ian Magness permalink
    February 2, 2016 8:29 am

    You’ve sunk yourself Paul – this is clear proof that the Little Ice Age never existed – these things can only happen after global warming caused by er anthropogenic CO2 emissions post-the industrial revolution, er, yes, I think I’ve got that right….

  2. Ben Vorlich permalink
    February 2, 2016 8:39 am

    Thanks Paul another arrow in the quiver when arguing/discussing So Called Climate Change with friends and relatives.

    I think that a great debt is owed to the archivists who have gathered this information and made it available to the world through the internet. Whether they did it in their own time or were paid they are more deserving of an honour than some time served civil servant. Through their work the world, if it wants, can see the nonsense being spouted by the Met Office and BBC on a hourly basis is just over hyped hot air.

    Hopefully we’re now in a position where no-one can burn the Library at Alexandria again.

  3. February 2, 2016 8:46 am

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News.

  4. David Richardson permalink
    February 2, 2016 8:54 am

    Well that is just inconvenient Paul for our narrative on AGW so we will just ignore it. Anyway all the cold in Asia (and elsewhere) proves our theory.

    One more in our series – everything proves AGW

    The included video is a good summary.

    So stop your evil fossil fuels. /sarc off

  5. martinbrumby permalink
    February 2, 2016 9:24 am

    Dame Julia claims today’s floods are ‘consistent with Climate Psyence’.
    Back then consistent with Divine Wrath or, alternatively, malicious witches.

    Little evidence that they were right then, or Dame Julia now.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      February 2, 2016 6:33 pm


      I don’t get around much and have not seen this term — thanks!

  6. lapogus permalink
    February 3, 2016 1:07 pm

    Sorry, I have come to this late. The Tyne flood of 1771 was truly remarkable in terms of the flow the runoff generated. Here’s a comment I made on Bishop Hill a few years ago when it was mentioned:

    “I have just had a look again at my source, the Institute of Hydrology / Tay River Purification Board report (A.R. Black and J.L. Anderson), ‘The Great Tay Flood of January 1993’ and noticed that the 1771 Tyne flow was estimated by Archer to be an astonishing 3900 cumecs at Hexham from a catchment area 1970km2. Black and Anderson refer to: Archer, N (1993) Discharge estimate for Britain’s greatest flood: River Tyne – 17th November 1771. Proc. Fourth Nat. Hydrol. Snyn. Cardiff September 1993 pages 4.1-4.6. The August 1971 Findhorn flood peaked at 2410cumecs at the Forres gauge (catchment 782km2), “a mere 17% of the catchment area of the Tay at Ballathie”, and the peak flow of the 1829 muckle spate was reckoned to have been higher than this. So there is plenty of hydrological evidence for historical extreme rainfall events of greater magnitude than anything we have seen in recent years.”

    Just for context, the peak flow of the Tay in Perth in ‘the great flood of 1993’ was around 2200m3 (but it probably would have been around 2700m3 had it not been for the Tummel Hydro-Electric schemes which impounded significant volumes and allowed the Tay peak wave to pass before the Tummel peak wave hit Perth). So the little Tyne peaked at an astonishing 3900m3 – much more than the mighty Tay which has a much larger catchment (and whose peak flows are greater than the Rhine’s average flow). Of course the Tay has seen bigger floods than in 1993, and the records go back to 1290 when the first bridge at Perth was washed away. Gilvear at Stirling University (in the 1980s I think) conducted extensive research on historical floods of the Tay and Forth.

    Here’s a contemporary review of the 1771 Tyne Flood:

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