Leeds nostalgia: Post snow floods of March 1947

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Large parts of Yorkshire were under water after melting snow and fresh rain caused rivers to burst their banks. The year saw one of the worst winters on record, with snows still thick on the ground well into March.

On March 21, snowmelt was attributed as a major factor in the River Don breaking its banks and even though on that day, the level was said to have fallen by 10 inches, the condition was described as “still very serious.”

Other rivers were also in flood: The Derwent, Ouse and Foss. Malton Station platform was completely submerged and unusable, resulting in the closure of the Malton-Scarborough line. The Great North Road near Mill Bridge was impassable.

Many small villagers were overcome by flood waters. One such was Bentley, near Hull, whose residents were forced to evacuate, the flood waters there reaching up to 6ft and 600 people having to move into Bentley Village School.

The report in the Evening Post from the day says four gas cookers were moved in and that about “40 people are accommodated in each class room. Most of them have to sleep on the floor. A request has been made for mattresses and blankets.”

It seemed like they were there for some time, as the families billeted there even formed a youth club for the children. Others took on responsibility for cleaning the corridors outside each room. One room was reserved for night workers to allow them to get uninterrupted sleep.

Meanwhile, the House of Commons was told it was illegal for people sell houses built under licence for the local authority for a higher value than they were initially sold for.

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