Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More Old News

The Hereford Journal reported on the flash flood of 9th July 1853, that led to the loss of three lives in Howey, I guess if it happened today the “experts” would blame global warming. This event was still recalled in the village when I was a lad in the 1950s:

“At 1 o’clock the rain began to fall in torrents, and by 4 o’clock the usually peaceful little brook had risen to the almost incredible height of 15 feet. A little before 4 a cottage gave way to the devastating element, and soon afterwards the bridge fell in with a fearful crash. In a short time two other cottages gave way, and two lives were lost. A poor man, who has for a length of time has been unable to move from his bed, was swept out of one house, bed and all; his wife and a twin child belonging to another woman in the house were drowned. The mother, with the other child naked in her arms, stood for upwards of two hours upon the projecting point of an old-fashioned chimney-piece, when she was perilously rescued by her brother, who proceeded to her assistance with a rope fastened around his body and held by persons who succeeded in getting them into an adjoining garden.”

It’s sometimes forgotten that western Radnorshire was a centre of the Rebecca movement in the 1840’s. Here’s a typical report from the Times of 7th November 1843:

“A few nights ago a party in the usual disguise of Rebecca and her daughters, some of whom were on horseback, but the majority on foot destroyed the turnpike gate at Newbridge, Radnorshire ......... a detachment of the 4th Light Dragoon is now stationed at Newbridge, having been removed from Builth to that place at the request of the magistrate."

Finally a strange tale of middle class life from the Times of January 24th 1963:

“A boy, aged 13, travelled 140 miles in the boot of his father’s Bentley tonight before he was freed with the help of Automobile Association officers in Leicester. The father, Mr Barry Hutton of Builth Wells, had driven his son Peter to his school at Crawley, and as the boy was unpacking his suitcases he fell into the boot and the lid shut. Mr Hutton, thinking the boy was in the school, set off for Nottingham.”

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