Flooding in Fleetwood

Flooding in Fleetwood

Over the years, the Irish Sea has succeeded in causing flooding in Fleetwood a number of times. Each time it happened, the sea defences were improved.

Take a look at these old photos* of flooding in Fleetwood. Do you remember any of these incidents? Have you got any photos to add? Leave a comment below or email your photos to jane@theRabbitPatch.co.uk

Flooding in Fleetwood in 1927

On 28 – 29 October 1927, serious flooding happened in the area. Over 1,800 properties were inundated and six people died. At the time it was the worst flood that the Fylde Coast had ever experienced.

The Great Flood of 1927 - Log Mill at Copse Road
The Great Flood of 1927 – Log Mill at Copse Road
Wet and wrecked possessions piled up outside after flooding in Fleetwood in 1927
Wet and wrecked possessions piled up outside after flooding in Fleetwood in 1927
Flooding in Fleetwood in 1927 - this is the Fisherman's Walk area
Flooding in Fleetwood in 1927 – this is the Fisherman’s Walk area

The Perfect Storm

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It was what you might call a ‘perfect storm’. The winds were gale force 12, reaching 80mph. The 32′ tide was about seven feet higher than predicted. Most of the town was under seawater following this flooding in Fleetwood in 1977.

Take a look at this old British Pathe film clip of the floods of 1927.

British Pathe Film of flooding in Fleetwood in 1927

Small rowing boats, many of them from Stanley Park lake, were drafted in to help. They ferried supplies to the hundreds of people who were stranded at home, unable to get out.

The deep water persisted for three days before it started to subside.

The devastation left when the water did subside was tremendous. Dead animals were left behind – pets and farm animals washed down from flooded farmland Over Wyre. Everything that the water had carried with it was dumped and left behind. With lots of silt, sand and sludge for good measure.

Blackout in Fleetwood

The flooding obviously affected public services, effectively cutting the town off. The electricity works were flooded, leaving the whole town in darkness. The duration of the disaster exhausted supplies of oil, candles and any other means of light and heat.

During the three days of the flood, not a tram, bus or car came in or out of the town. All of the underground telephone and communication cables were out of action. The town was cut off.

Help from the country

It was national newspaper The Times who came to the towns rescue. They reported on the disaster and sent out a rallying cry to the country to help.

The Fleetwood Disaster Fund was opened by Charles Saer (Chairman of Fleetwood Council) and Lord Stanley. He made a donation of £200 to start the fund. There was even a contribution from Buckingham Palace!

If you’ve got any more photos of flooding in Fleetwood in 1927 we’d love to share them. Please get in touch! Email to jane@theRabbitPatch.co.uk

Not quite sure what the relevance of the next photo is… but we’ve included it anyway!

Flooding in Fleetwood in 1946
Fleetwood in 1946

Repairing the Sea Defences

We were given this photo here at Visit Fleetwood when the building of the new Rossall Sea Defences began. It’s a fascinating image, full of old machinery, old working practices and a complete lack of health and safety at work!

Repairs to Rossall sea wall in 1955. Photo: Visit Fleetwood
Repairs to Rossall sea wall in 1955. Photo: Visit Fleetwood

On the reverse is some text, presumably written by someone at Wyre Borough Council:

Repairs to Rossall sea wall in 1955. Photo: Visit Fleetwood

“Borough of Fleetwood, repairs to sea defences.
“General view of Gleesons site from lighting tower at Groyne 2A. Breaking out of fill re-commenced in foreground using the Kiernan-Terry Breaker.
“12 August 1955. Contract!”

Flooding in Fleetwood in 1977

On 11 and 12 November 1977, Fleetwood and the Fylde Coast suffered another serious flooding event. The wind was Force 10 – gusting as high as Force 12. Sea levels reached 6.2m and caused extensive overtopping from the sea.

Sweeping out at home after flooding in Fleetwood in 1977
Sweeping out at home after flooding in Fleetwood in 1977

Blackpool, Knott End and Pilling were also badly affected, as were Crossens and Haverigg. In total around 5000 properties were affected. Almost 2000 of them were inundated with more than 1m of water. 7,900 acres of farmland were also flooded.

Flooding in Fleetwood in 1977
Flooding in Fleetwood in 1977. Junction of Broadway, Westway and The Strand.

Flooding in Fleetwood in 1977

Fleetwood Underwater

Parts of the sea wall crumbled under the might of the Irish Sea, causing widespread devastation. Sadly, at that time there was no way of warning people in advance. The whole of the seafront, from Rossall School to the Sea Cadets base, was under water.

Boat left at a bus stop after flooding in Fleetwood in 1977
Boat left at a bus stop after flooding in Fleetwood in 1977

Flooding in Fleetwood

Flooding in Fleetwood

Flood water always carries debris with it, and this debris had blocked the drains. With no way for the flood water to escape, streets remained under water the following day.

Flooding in Fleetwood

Flooding in Fleetwood

Flooding in Fleetwood

Repairing defences after flooding in Fleetwood
Repairing defences after flooding in Fleetwood

Repairing defences after flooding in Fleetwood

*These photos are from a variety of sources. All have been widely circulated online and in the public domain.

This is an interesting video, made of still photos from the Lancashire County Council drainage department –

Photos of flooding and drainage work in the Fleetwood area

New Sea Defences After Flooding in Fleetwood

Typically, after there’s been a bad incident of flooding, sea or river defences are improved shortly afterwards. Not just here in Fleetwood, but all over the country.

You can see a pattern of flooding leading to new sea walls being built or strengthened, all along this coast from Fleetwood to Lytham.

After the 1977 floods, the big, concrete sea wall was constructed at Rossall, along the seafront at Fairway, up to the golf course.

The old sea wall at West Way before building the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme
The old sea wall at West Way before building the Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme

It’s this very sea wall which has just been rebuilt during the 2018 Rossall Coastal Defence Project. There are lots of photos of the old sea wall at the link, plus how the new defences were built.

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2 Comments
  1. Avatar

    I must commend you on an excellent article about the flooding of Fleetwood in 1927 and 1977. I have often wonder why there were not more photos available showing the extent of the 1927 flooding and was pleased that you found the Pathe news clip covering the incident. I seem to remember that there used to be a marker on the outside of the Strawberry Gardens hotel on Poulton road showing how high the flood water reached at that location, I don’t know if it is still there. I had moved away from Fleetwood by 1977 so do not have any recollections of that flooding which made the photos you showed of that time very enlightening to me regarding the extent of the damage.
    As a construction materials engineer I was very interested in your photos of the sea defence construction at different time periods in the history of the Fylde coast, amazing amount of work was done,very impressive. I had to smile at your comment regarding the lack of health and safety present at the construction site in 1955, how things have changed now. Although living in the Manchester area now I made several trips to Rossall during the latest modifications to the sea defences and was very impressed with the scale of the task. I t would have been an added bonus to your article if you could have extended the article to include even more detail regarding the damage to the town and surrounding areas, maybe in another article?

    1. Avatar

      Thank you Eric – I’ll see if I can dig out anything else!

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