Round about midnight on March 11th 1864 the Dale Dyke Dam at Bradfield, near Sheffield, collapsed, releasing a torrent of water that killed some 250 people. It devastated an area that stretched from the Dam, down the Loxley Valley, through Malin Bridge and Hillsborough, to Sheffield town centre and beyond.
Following the disaster, compensation claims were made by individuals and companies against the Sheffield Water Company for loss of property and livelihood, and for injury and/or death of relatives.
The Registers of Claims, held by Sheffield Archives, form a unique and wide-ranging snapshot of a major industrial centre in the mid-Victorian period. The Claims are rich in the details of everyday-life, mainly of the poorer classes, with lists of household goods, furniture and personal possessions. They also provide extensive information about commercial and industrial enterprises of the time, including inventories of industrial machinery and tools, manufacturing materials and stock, and the entire contents of shops. About 7,000 claims were made in total.
This website makes the Claims freely accessible and completely searchable, and offers fascinating educational resources and information about the Flood Claims and about the Flood itself. The project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery, and been aided by Sheffield Archives. The site is hosted by Sheffield Hallam University.