The Carlisle Floods Of 1822
By Paul Homewood
I mentioned the report into Carlisle’s flooding last winter, which has been recently published.
It concluded that the severity of the flooding had little to do with “climate change”, and everything to do with lack of river maintenance and poor management.
It also included this list of previous flood events in Carlisle:
The cluster of major floods in the early years of the 19thC is particularly noticeable. It also appears that the 1822 flood was the worst of the lot.
As with Storm Desmond, the floods in 1822 affected a much wider area than just Carlisle.
For instance, we have this account from Cockermouth, one of the towns also badly affected last winter:
1822 2 Feb
The Carlisle Patriot reports that ‘the oldest person living never saw anything equal to this flood in this part of the country. The Rivers Greta and Derwent, particularly the latter were never known to be so high and the consequent damage is very great’. A wash house of Forge on the Penrith Road (Greta) was completely carried away with all its contents – 80 stone of oatmeal, a fat pig, a washing of clothes and brewing utensils. Dwelling houses nearby and a wool carding factory also suffered severely with the water 4 1/2 feet deep in the latter. The cottages were flooded to the ceiling, which was ‘higher by two yards than ever remembered’. The roads leading to Borrowdale, Penrith and Bassenthwaite were totally impassable. Rev Brown of Bassenthwaite was washed off his horse and perished. On the Cockermouth road the water rooted up trees and levelled hedges in all directions
The arches of the new bridge (the two-arch stone Derwent bridge probably completed within the previous two years) at Cockermouth were not found large enough and the road in consequence was completely impassable.
The winter was remarkable both for its ‘hurricanes’ and storms of rain as for its mildness. The area experienced destructive wind and rain on 1 Dec 1821, whilst only the highest summits had seen a sprinkling of snow through the whole winter. The February floods were accompanied by a southwesterly gale which was also responsible for widespread damage. On the neighbouring River Eden the level at Carlisle was higher than in the great flood of 1771.
And from Appleby, just up the Eden Valley:
This comment is particularly interesting:
The winter was remarkable both for its ‘hurricanes’ and storms of rain as for its mildness. The area experienced destructive wind and rain on 1 Dec 1821, whilst only the highest summits had seen a sprinkling of snow through the whole winter.
It appears that mild, wet winters are not a modern phenomenon after all!