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The Calder Valley Flood Of 1946

February 12, 2020
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By Paul Homewood



Mytholmroyd Floods 1946


As we have discovered, the Calder Valley has a history of frequent and severe flooding, particularly around Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd. So much so in fact that a book has been written about it:



According to newspaper reports the Calder Valley has been subjected to flooding since the early 1800s. There was a disastrous flood in 1837 but few details are known about it apart from the fact that the arches of the canal viaduct at Black Pit (near to Riverside School in Hebden Bridge) were unable to take the waters, which rose to the height of the canal and ultimately flowed over it. The waters damned back and formed an immense lake out of which the houses stood up in a pitiable condition. On that occasion a boat was rowed from the canal and over the walls of New Road to the White Horse Hotel which was situated near to St. George’s Square and which is now a car park. In 1837 there wouldn’t be any shops in Crown Street and the Carlton Buildings had not been built so the vast amount of water in the centre of Hebden Bridge must have been a sight to behold.


The extract mentions several of these, drawing attention to particularly severe floods in 1837 and 1866, noting about the latter that apparently there wasn’t anything as bad again until the one that happened in 1946 – 80 years later.

The book gives this account:

FRIDAY 20TH SEPTEMBER 1946Mytholmroyd 1946
The year after World War II saw people all over the country trying to get back to leading a normal life after the many difficulties and traumas of the previous six years but for the people of the Calder Valley peacetime was to be interrupted by yet another event over which they had no control. On the morning of Friday the 20th September 1946, incessant rain flooded the small village of Mytholmroyd, creating havoc and upset for the shopkeepers and householders of this small community. Mytholmroyd had been flooded before and will no doubt be flooded again due to the low lying land but this was the worst flood in living memory and for many people this flood was nothing less than a calamity. Several feet of filthy water invaded shops and houses alike damaging and ruining possessions and in some cases causing heavy losses. Places that had never before been flooded were under water, a total of 425 properties being affected in the Mytholmroyd district alone.

The locality adjoining the river in Mytholmroyd was deeply submerged, and nearly twelve hours passed before the water went away. For about eleven hours the main road through the village was impassable. The water overflowed upstream of Caldene Bridge and rushed down the road like a raging torrent, re-entering the river opposite Midgley Road. The river rose so swiftly that shopkeepers and householders had very little time to get their goods and furniture out of harm’s way. There was water in the roadway in the early morning and although the early buses managed to get through, by eight o’clock it was three feet deep and continued to rise until it reached a depth of six or seven feet. Not only was the main road filled, but the land and streets on both sides of the river. Viewed from the hillsides, the district had the appearance of a lake extending from Hawksclough to Brearley.


The flood of 1946 was undoubtedly much worse than this week’s. Reports suggest flooding of about 3 to 4ft this time, whereas flood levels appear to have been double that in 1946.

It is also said that 425 properties were affected in 1946 in Mytholmroyd alone, but according to the Environment Agency only 730 properties have been affected by floods this week in the whole of England. Flooding is tragic on a personal level, but it is worth keeping matters in perspective – 730 properties is a microscopic number in overall terms, which belies the impressions given by some of the more overhyped media coverage.

A look at the comparative rainfalls is also interesting. This year the EA claimed that rainfall in the catchment area over a 24-hour period was around 100mm. Back in 1946, they did not have automatic rain gauges high up on those moors. But data from the British Rainfall publication showed that over 3 inches fell at low lying sites in the vicinity on Sep 19th alone. You will recall that there was incessant rain on the morning of the 20th, so the 24-hour total may well have been much greater.



It is also almost certain that rainfall on the moors, over 1000ft up, would have been much greater than recorded around Bradford and Haworth.

It is also worth looking at the wind speed data on 20th September 1946, per the Met Office monthly report:




Clearly that storm was every bit as powerful as Ciara.

  1. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 12, 2020 6:48 pm

    History is a mighty big hammer when exposing alarmist BS.

    • Adrian, East Anglia permalink
      February 12, 2020 8:10 pm

      Exactly so. Hence the reason why an army of modern day Winston Smiths do so much overtime in the Ministry of Truth ‘correcting’ all those climate records!!!

  2. Broadlands permalink
    February 12, 2020 7:07 pm

    In 1946 the climate had been cooling for eight years and didn’t start warming again until 1975 during which time CO2 continued to rise. Where’s the connection?

  3. Dave Cowdell permalink
    February 12, 2020 7:33 pm

    I don’t understand why locations with ” valley” in the name are prone to flooding.

  4. Jackington permalink
    February 12, 2020 8:09 pm

    Well, I never – I thought the flooding was all due to climate change – silly me. Caught out by fake news again.

  5. February 12, 2020 8:23 pm
    Clearly an atmospheric CO2 concentration of ~310 ppm in 1946 was not safe.

    • Mack permalink
      February 12, 2020 10:23 pm

      I’m sure that we’ve been told many times that if we only got back to an atmospheric CO2 level of 350ppm or below, everything would be fine and dandy. Obviously, all those nasty weather events that occurred when CO2 levels were below that magic mark were merely examples of natural variability (that apparently don’t happen anymore) as opposed to the current stream of pesky man made climate emergency disasters that happen on a daily basis now. I’m sure our resident carbon capture expert, Mr Broadlands, can advise us of how many billion tons of CO2 we’d have to bury to get back to the lovely weather of 1946. Or not, as the case seems to be.

  6. Stuart Harrison permalink
    February 12, 2020 8:50 pm

    A late 1960s thunderstorm in Bradford was about the worst one I have ever seen. The lightning kept striking the mill chimneys and the rain was torrential. So much came down so fast and hail too that the large playing fields above Hanson school in Barkerend Road turned into a lake The water demolished the boundary wall and joined what looked like a river in the main road.

    This was happening all over the town and the water all rushed down into the centre. Plants, bushes and trees were stripped of leaves and the huge amount of water then flooded parts of the city centre.

    Divers were sent into the flooded subways in Forster Square to check no one had drowned in there. Of course we were then on global cooling for the coming ice age. It was of course only a localised storm though.

  7. C Lynch permalink
    February 12, 2020 10:07 pm

    “Unprecedented” nowadays translates as “happened loads of times in the past as bad and/or worse but we’re concealing that to peddle our Alarmist Marxist narrative and you’re too lazy to check it out!”

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 12, 2020 10:31 pm

    The only bloke at the MO who knows how the CET works is obviously back from his global heating re-education camp. Finally, Jan 2020 was the 14th warmest in 362 years, tied with 1875 and 1736. Very warm but very much not “unprecedented”!

  9. Tom Livingston permalink
    February 13, 2020 9:25 am

    With all of the sensible comments on this Blog and others how is it that the Eco-Loonies get such a free ride?

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