Flood heritage: engaging with history

Information about historic floods on the Severn or other rivers can be gathered from local or regional archives, and oral history accounts by members of the public, local historical societies and academics, sometimes working in collaboration.  Chris Witts’ Severn Tales website provides an excellent example of a flood history put together on the initiative of an individual, with a strong lived connection to the River Severn.

  • The British Chronology of Hydrological Events run by the British Hydrological Society (through Dundee University) allows people to put information about historic floods gathered together from historic sources – like old rainfall accounts (like British Rainfall 1860-1968) or local histories. The British Chronology website contains plentiful information about historic floods on the Severn. These accounts give descriptive information about the size, seasonality and physical characteristics of past floods, and also of flood impacts on towns and villages down the Severn, and its tributaries.
  • The Lower Severn Community Flood Information Network provides information about historic floods on the Severn. This project ran from 2004-2007 and was funded through the Royal Society’s Connecting People to Science scheme.
  • An example of a collection of oral history accounts (presented as digital stories) by the Lower Severn Community Flood Education Network website developed within the Co-FAST (Flood Archive Enhancement through Storytelling) project. These stories capture oral history accounts of memories of past floods like those of March 1947 from older people in the lower Severn valley. These accounts provide some contrasts in terms of past and present resilience.
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