The Great Sheffield Flood of 1864 – An illustrated talk by Malcolm Nunn.
Fusion, Sheffield University,  3rd March.

Reviewer – Phill James.

As part of their Highlighting History season, Off the Shelf hosted three days of talks this month and I was lucky enough to catch up with Malcolm Nunn at one of them. A local historian and archivist, Malcolm is seen locally as the voice when it comes to the great Sheffield Flood of 1864. He has been interested in the event his entire life after discovering an old relative was directly involved in the incident. Having written several books and done much to preserve the memories and events that shaped Sheffield some 148 years ago, Malcolm was to prove an engaging and often humorous speaker who rapidly advanced my understanding of the famous incident. Prior to Saturday my knowledge on the subject amounted to standing outside The Fat Cat and pointing at the flood line.

The Great Sheffield Flood killed some 270 people and devastated much of the Loxley Valley before pouring into Hillsborough, Kelham Island and Attercliffe. Starting when the Dale Dyke Dam broke late into the night on March 11th, the flood is still considered one of the most deadly in history. Told through a series of old slides, Malcolm painted a vivid picture of the destruction that occurred as 700 million imperial gallons of water swept down into the city. These images were peppered with anecdotes and rumours of the people who were involved in the flood, some of whom lost their lives on that fateful day. Malcolm, not once referring to any notes, possessed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject and it is clearly an event that he remains incredibly passionate about. The talk was well received by a large crowd and was interesting throughout, never once tipping over to the levels of school lecture.

Off the Shelf continue to do excellent work promoting local writers and historians and if you’ve never heard Malcolm speak on this subject, I highly recommend catching him again in the future. Eloquently presented and with some truly amazing old photographs, this was a fascinating insight into a piece of Sheffield history that will never be forgotten. Certainly as long as Malcolm has anything to do with it anyway.

Learn more about the Sheffield Floods here

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