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The great flood at Quorn - July 21st 1875

Notes by C Murray Rumsey

A Mountsorrel Pepys
Discovery of old diary

Diaries can sometimes confirm or supplement history, especially local history, which sometimes suffers from exaggeration or oblivion.

The diary of an unknown man, presumably of Mountsorrel, for the year 1875 has recently come to light, and confirms a bit of Quorn history for that year. It contains the following entry:-

"July 21st, Wednesday. Today there is the largest flood that has been seen here for over 20 years. At 4.15pm it washed down the bridge in the line over the Old Soar and at seven o'clock it was two feet high at the end of the shop in the yard. At Quorn, a man named Brown was killed and the water washed down a large wall on the Green and tore up two walls alongside the brook."

Exactly was is meant by the bridge over the Old Soar, and in what yard the water was two feet high, is uncertain, but both were probably in Mounsorrel. The man who met his death was Mr William Brown, saddler of Station Street, Quorn, and his son Mr John Brown, who is in his 80th year tells the story.

It seems that the owner of the White Horse Inn opposite the brook was then Mr Oliver Brown, and finding his premises in danger of being flooded, he sent round to his neighbour to ask for help in removing his furniture upstairs. It was while thus occupied that Mr William Brown was dashed by the water through the house into the yard, his head cut open against the wall and his body swirled round and round over a grating till he died.

This was witnessed from a bedroom window by his daughter, who was in service at the White Horse. The wall over the brook, between what is now the War Memorial Green and the Quorn House property was thrown down by the flood which dashed across the road into the Inn. A few yards along the road the Mill House Inn housed some calves in the upper storey for some days until the flood abated.

The hounds at the kennels, then situated at Quorn Hall, were washed out, and swam about in the fields between there and Barrow until rescued, a reward of 2/6d per hound being offered. Mr Joe Burton, old soldier and a friend and neighbour of Mr John Brown tells how he and other lads earned some pocket money in rescuing Ranter, Ringwood and Bellman.

Mr Burton is of the opinion that the violence of the flood was increased by the fact that the hay being down and being washed against the hedges, the water was held up until it burst through with more force that would otherwise have been the case.

The diary contains no clue as to the writer, but from the entries about cranes, castings etc as well as references to Mr R F Martin, and the names of ironmongers and engineering firms, it looks as if he were in the employ of the Granite Company.

See also Artefact 1930 for more about the White Horse incident.

 Submitted on: 2009-07-24
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 401
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page

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