The Great Storm of 1904

Canal Postcards: NarrowBoat, Summer 2020

Trevor Ellis

Trevor Ellis examines how postcards captured a freak weather event on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in the early 20th century

In West Yorkshire we started 2020’s boating season with most of the local canals having been damaged by flooding. One of the less publicised incidents was at Golcar on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, where a stream flows between locks 14E and 15E. This problem had been developing for some time, with the stretch having silted up progressively since the last blockage in 2012. On that occasion, the dredgings had to be transferred to road transport below Lock 17E, via a field, as access is a big difficulty at this site. Somewhat more serious than anything in recent years was the Great Storm of 1904. This took place on Sunday 24th July and was a peculiarly localised event, with Marsden, at the head of the valley and less than 4 miles from Golcar, escaping the effects. The storm struck in the evening when many people were at services in the local churches and chapels, where some would be trapped until midnight. In three hours, over 3½ inches of rain fell. The most serious damag…

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