Sheffield Independent May 1, 1937
Land Won from Flood
Dearne Plan Puts River in Its Place
God made the world, they say, but the Dutch made Holland.
By the same rule, the authority known as the Ouse (Yorkshire) Catchment Board will ultimately be given credit for restoring to useful agricultural purposes a large area of industrial South Yorkshire.
Operations on a large scale have already being commenced by the Catchment Board in collaboration with the Dearne and Dove Internal Drainage Board.
The work will proceed until a chain or more or less permanent flood “lakes” between Cawthorne in the West and Conisbrough in the East, and been “mopped up,” and the flooding menace has been finally conquered.
The flood problem acutely affects all the municipalities between Barnsley and Mexborough, and large tracts of hitherto fertile agricultural land have gone completely to waste at Cudworth, Darfield, Wombwell, Wath on Dearne, Bolton on Dearne and Mexborough.
Farmers Hard Hit
Farmers and landowners in that area suffered considerable losses, and large section of population in the area is officially marked “susceptible to flood” have had to endure great loss, inconvenience and positive discomfort every time there has been abnormal rainfall the past 20 years.
Scores of swans and seabirds and made their homes on the floodwaters.
To what extent the flooding is attributable to money substance is a moot point, but the fact remains that the floods have become increasingly serious.
Very acute is a flood problem in the neighbourhood of Mitchell Main colliery. On several occasions during the past winter Mitchell Main cricket ground has been flooded to a depth of a foot, and because of inability to cope with the problem Mitchell Main Cricket club has had to consider the question of withdrawing from the Yorkshire Council. Remedial measures of a temporary character have now been adopted, and the club will continue in the competition was signed
Two Main Features
After much pressure on the part of the authorities concerned, the Ouse (Yorkshire) Catchment Board have come to the rescue, and complete relief from this occurring nuisance is now promised. Farmers are delighted at the prospect of hundreds of acres been restored to the plough.
The scheme of reclamation embarked upon by the Catchment Board some months ago had two main features. One was the construction of a 10 foot high flood wall across the Dearne Valley, between the LMS and LNE railway systems at Wath; the other was the diversion of the River Dearne in the pastures beyond Wath Main colliery from a spot known as “Fire Arches” to the old Hull and Barnsley branch line.
The flood wall has already been completed and a Daily Independent reporter who visited the spot this week was informed that it had proved completely effective.
So much so, that the district around the railway station at Wath, including the approaches to Wath Main colliery have been spared 12 floods this winter.
During the exceptionally heavy floods of three or four weeks ago, the area be behind the walls completely “dry,” although the floodwater crept up to within a few inches of the top of the flood wall.
The diversion of the River Dearne, near Wath Main colliery, and the Wombwell – Wath boundary, is one of the most important remedial measures. An engineer of the Ouse (Yorkshire) Catchment Board told a Daily Independent reporter that the works were part of a larger plan for the reclamation of the whole area. He said the new flood wall should safeguard Wath area from all normal floods.
Mr Harry Charlesworth, of Wombwell, a leading South Yorkshire agriculturist, official of the Farmers Union and a member of the Dearne and Dove Internal Drainage Board, said the land reclamation measures gave new hope to many farmers.
“It is absolutely wicked,” he said, “that the land should be allowed to go to waste. I cannot understand any Government permitting it all these years. It is the best growing land in Yorkshire. When she reclaimed it will grow three times as much as land outside the flood area.”