The dawning of a disaster

pictures of Orchard Park
during the Hull flood


Photographs taken by Brian Williams
on Monday 25th June 2007.




rainy days

On 25th June 2007 the low lying city of Hull experienced flooding on a disastrous scale – not, as history has taught to expect, from the rivers Hull and Humber but from the sky. Reportage is extensive. Awareness of the seriousness of the situation that day, however, could be a gradual thing. This page presents an individual record through diary notes and some photographs using a rather basic camera.

Friday 15th June
Heavy rain since yesterday; soggy mail; some flooding across county and in Hull. Is this the worst of the summer weather?

Saturday 23rd June
Heavy showers; planned event to mark the 40th anniversary of Thorpepark Primary School abandoned.

Sunday 24th June
Torrential downpour at teatime; another later.

Monday 25th June
Starts wet, windy, gloomy, and unseasonally cold.



 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (1) Mid-morning: water hardly ever collects on the garden, but it does today.



 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (2) Swishing is heard as cars pass by the road is awash.


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (3) Parallel with the road runs the Beverley & Barmston open drain. A check discovers the level to be exceptionally high, and the normally sedate water turned into a river-like flow.


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (4) The drain as it passes under Hall Road bridge.


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (5)  Orchard Park 25/06/07 (6) Early afternoon: rain continues. The water is not clearing.
West of the bridge, towards the Orchard Park centre, cars break down.


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (7) A motorcyclist braves a rapidly extending lake.


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (8) The posts are there to mark a pedestrian crossing point but now serve to define the road width.


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (9) A little later, motorists wisely give up altogether. It is rare during a weekday to see no bus waiting at the Pint and Pot terminus. In the centre background, beyond the usually busy Hall Road, is a deserted Orchard Park shopping centre.


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (10) Further west along Hall Road, the floodscape continues.


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (11) Taken from over a landscaped mound against driving rain, the picture shows a corner of Thorpepark Primary School, vacated earlier in the day. [These buildings were severely damaged by floodwater. On Saturday 7th July 2013 the Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited the site.]


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (12) The Beverley & Barmston drain did not break its banks. South of the bridge, a recreational area acts as a catchment basin. To the right of the picture, a path disappears under the water.


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (13) The bowling green, Princess Elizabeth Playing Field.


 Orchard Park 25/06/07 (14) Flooded parkland. [Planning approval, after a second application, was granted on 9th September 2009 for a city academy to be built on this land.]


By late afternoon, it was learned that the surreal conditions were everywhere across the city, and much worse in some areas. One man had lost his life. It took the following days to begin to understand the scale of the disaster in terms of damage and long-term disruption.


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