Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Of floods and weirs and peaceful places, on the edge of Turn Moss

The weir in 1915
I really don’t do enough pictures on the blog and rarely do those then and now sort of stories.  So here with the help of Nigel Anderson and Michael J Thompson of Hardy Productions UK* are some shots of the weir on the edge of Turn Moss just where the river takes one of its dramatic twists.

Now the Mersey is prone to flooding and after a particularly bad flood in 1799 the weir was built to channel storm water across the plain and into the Kickety Brook and so lessening the danger to the aqueduct which carried the Duke’s Canal.

And floods and the story of floods regularly pop up on the blog including the tale of the weir and Kickety Brook,.

Almost the same spot today © Nigel Anderson
So when Michael told me that he and Nigel had been down at the weir I just had to ask permission to use their photographs, along with two from 1915 which was the last time it served the purpose it was built for.

Their pictures show a benign spot, but it was not always so.

The river could flood with little warning and on one occasion a farmer just had time to release his horses from the cart as the water swept across the open land.

The weir from the flood plain, 1915
Another time in the July of 1828 flood water transported hay ricks from the farm behind Barlow Hall down to Stretford only later to take them back, while later floods proved to be even more destructive with one destroying the bridge across Chorlton Brook.

It was, wrote Thomas Ellwood the local historian
“no uncommon thing to see the great level of green fields completely covered with water presenting the appearance of a large lake , several miles in circuit,” and he recorded six major floods between  December 1880 and October  1881.

Looking towards Kickety Brook from the weir © Michael J Thompson

Not that it always worked.  Soon after it had been built flood water swept it away and during the nineteenth century neither the weir nor the river banks prevented the Mersey bursting out across the plain.

This happened in 1840 and in the following year it was rebuilt by the engineer William Cubitt.

After litigation the cost of repair was borne by the Bridgewater Trust who paid out £1,500, the Turnpike Commissioners £500, Thomas de Trafford £1,000 and Wilbraham Egerton £1,000.

*Hardy Productions UK https://sites.google.com/site/hardyprodsuk/

Pictures; of the weir in 1915 from the Lloyd collection and the weir today courtesy of Nigel Anderson and Michael J Thompson

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