Cliffe's Sunken Barges
During the first few months of 1947, huge falls of snow in the area, especially in the hills, followed by a sudden thaw resulted in much agricultural and industrial flooding.
During the week commencing March 23, many lakes were formed after the Ouse topped its banks. This was then compounded by the exceptionally high tides flowing inland from the Humber.
The bank at Barlby bursts
With the tides 3 feet higher than expected, the Ouse tore holes in its bank at two places in Barlby.
The flood water swept through the B.O.C.M. factory (at the time it was known as O.C.O. and produced a third of the country's margarine).
The floodwater making its way across Barlby Road
The water swept Eastwards, down the 'Old Ways' (The old course of the River Ouse) at the South side of Cliffe and Hemingbrough, reaching almost as far as the River Derwent.
Turnham Lane with 'Cottage Farm' on the right
Trapped in the middle of this floodwater, set close to the riverbank, was a farm at Newhay. It is reported that the farmer was watching from his bedroom window one morning, as they had been consigned to living upstairs, he could see the bank start to bulge towards the river (at the time the floodwater was higher than the river level), the farmer turned and called to his wife to take a look, but by the time he turned back again, the bank had already disappeared, a huge breach had been torn into the bank and millions of gallons of floodwater was now pouring back into the Ouse.
This picture shows the water at Newhay flowing back into the Ouse
This chap is testing the depth of the cuts, reputedly 30ft deep in some places
To fill this huge breach, on the 13th April, the army and workers from O.C.O filled 'lighter' barges (towed raft-like barges) with sand bags, the sand was liberated from Brayton Barff.
Tugs are used to tow the barges into position
Here is one of the barges sitting in the cut of the bank
All hands on deck as the lighters are filled with sandbags
Sitting very low in the water now...
Down she goes! The lighter is sunk.
Once the barges had been sunk in their positions, the bank had to be rebuilt.
Tons of mud and clay was excavated to fill in the huge gap and cover the barges.
The holes that this excavation caused are still there to this day...you may know them better as the Newhay Fishing Lakes.
There is one more tell-tale sign of what happened over 70 years ago...
The top of one of the lighters is still clearly visible poking out of the grass!
For further pictures of the floods of 1947, check out the archive gallery on this website.