ONE YEAR ON: How the Boxing Day floods tore through Calderdale

Last winter, flooding on an unprecedented scale caused untold devastation and misery for thousands of people across Calderdale.

Friday, 23rd December 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:13 pm
Boxing day flood in Hebden Bridge. Albert Street and New Road under water.

Storm Eva battered the region on Boxing Day and shocking scenes unfolded as floods ripped through towns and villages, destroying homes, businesses and livelihoods.

It’s hard to forget images from the day, which showed the true scale of the devastation. Vast swathes of the borough were submerged as communities in Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Todmorden tried to fight against the deluge.

Laura and Lee Shaw opened their home up in Elland as a hub for donations and said it was the worst flooding they had ever seen.

Mytholmroyd centre under water after the River Calder burst its banks.

Mr Shaw said: “It is the worst thing that has ever happened to Elland. People’s homes have been ruined.”

Many homes in the town had to be evacuated as Elland Bridge began to collapse in the early hours of the morning, leaving a community divided.

The bridge has been out of action since then, but is scheduled to reopen to traffic early next year.

In Hebden Bridge, main shopping streets including Market Street, Bridge Gate and Albert Street were all badly hit, alongside homeowners, when Hebden Water and the River Calder overtopped.

Boxing Day floods, Sowerby Bridge 2015

Schools, including Riverside Junior School and Central Street Infant and Nursery School were hit, alongside Hebden Bridge Little Theatre and the Picture House - a marker that floods affected every area of town life.

Flooding of the Rochdale Canal caused huge problems for the extensive community in the town who have made their homes on canal barges.

Some of the most iconic images of the floods came from Mytholmroyd, as water swamped the town on a level never seen before.

At its worst, the centre of the village was completely under water with residents terrified levels would rise further as the rain continued to fall.

Mytholmroyd centre under water after the River Calder burst its banks.

In one of the most dramatic moments of the day, an elderly man had to be rescued by fire crews after he tried to drive a Land Rover into the water.

Emergency services had to use a boat to get to the stranded vehicle, before smashing the sun-roof and pulling the driver from the car.

The Whitesands travel building, on Burnley Road, collapsed under the weight of flood water and many other businesses were left devastated.

The Co-op supermarket and petrol station were submerged as water engulfed the village. Many residents suffered for the second time in three years as their homes were caught in the deluge.

Boxing Day floods, Sowerby Bridge 2015

Burnley Road Academy and Scout Road Academy were severely hit and were closed for months while flood repair work got underway.

Upholstery firm Vale Bridgecraft saw much of its stock and warehouse completely ruined.

In Todmorden, many homes were hit in Walsden, Lydgate, Burnley Road and Halifax Road, alongside much-loved landmarks including the Hippodrome Theatre.

In Sowerby Bridge, Brighouse, Elland and Copley, unprecedented water levels were recorded and severe damage was sustained.

Don’t miss our next feature, where we take a look at the incredible efforts of communities as they fought they deluge.