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1920s crowds view Stourbidge floods

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: August 10, 2014

By Dan Shaw

Floods in Lower High Street Stourbridge June 1 1924

Floods in Lower High Street Stourbridge June 1 1924

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IN our May 8 edition we told the story of the floods of 1924 which badly affected much of the Black Country. Now, thanks to John Taylor of Kidderminster we have another picture of those floods 90 years ago, showing a crowd viewing the waters in Lower High Street, Stourbridge.

The rain began to fall on the afternoon of Saturday, May 31, 1924, and did not let up for 30 hours. The Stour and the Tame and many of the brooks and streams across the Black Country burst their banks, causing much loss of property and disruption.

The scene in Stourbridge was described in the Dudley Herald of June 7:

"Rain, the like of which had not been seen for years, came incessantly for over 24 hours. The thunder was very heavy and the lightning extremely vivid. The back of a house in Wood Street, Wollaston was struck by lightning, but no serious damage was done. Sunday morning was the worst.

"During the night the river Stour had overflowed its banks with the result that Lower High Street became a sheet of water, 60 yards wide, and in places several feet deep. The Great Western Railway goods yard was a lake. In some parts the water was over the truck wheels. A wooden fence which had been erected while alterations were being effected, was greatly damaged, and a large amount of timber was carried away. The shops of Messrs. Woolf, Perry, Bills, etc., were flooded out, the water being quite three feet deep. Considerable damage was done. An unfortunate victim was Mr Pitts, whose kitchen is underground. The water rushed in, and chairs, tables and piano were soon floating about. Mr Frank Tether donned a bathing suit and rescued a number of articles, but the greater part were ruined. At the house of Mr Boswell, down by the canal wharf, a ladder had to be used to enter the house through the bedroom window. The Fire Brigade, under Captain T.L.Walker, worked strenuously in pumping the water out of the cellars, etc.

"By 7pm on Sunday evening the flood had subsided considerably, but a width of quite 30 yards was still under water. Trams could not pass into the town all day, and the 'bus traffic had to be diverted via the Fish and Wollaston. Monday morning saw the Lower High Street clear of water, and normal traffic running, but the underground places were still swamped. An old resident informed our representative that he remembered the last flood, some 21 years ago, but it was nothing to compare with this one in intensity."

This picture must have been taken on the Sunday. Children are among the onlookers, standing on the submerged tram rails.

Although Stourbridge was badly affected it was not the worst hit by the floods. According to the Dudley Herald Cradley saw the most serious floods. Do readers have any photographs of the damage?

Do you have a family tale to tell of the floods of 1924? Please share any pictures or memories, contact dshaw@blackcountrybugle.co.uk or write in to 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.

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