Memories flood back of day when road suffered for a second time

One stormy evening in late September, 1976, history repeated itself.

History repeats itself in 1976.
History repeats itself in 1976.

That particular night, Coalport Road in Madeley was ripped apart by a torrent of water.

Millions of gallons cascaded from a burst surface water sewer, with the flood running at a rate of 1,500 gallons a second which tore open great holes and left a gulley five feet deep before emptying into the River Severn several hundred yards below.

The storm on September 25 overwhelmed the pipe carrying surface water from south Telford, and the burst saw it gushing on to the steeply inclined road just below the entrance to Blists Hill Museum.

The extensive damage meant Coalport Road had to be closed for some time for repairs.

Damage to "Dabbley Lane" after the flash flooding of June 2, 1924.

But turn back the clock to June 2, 1924, and the road had suffered damage in a very similar way, with Coalport Road being described as Dabbley Lane – a local name for the road back then.

That too had been caused by a terrible weekend storm, the like of which had not been seen in the Ironbridge area for 40 years.

Among many incidents, about 400 tons of rubbish was washed down Benthall Bank, much of which got on the railway line at the bottom and held up a train at Ironbridge station.

With ruts cut four feet deep, the bank was impassable to traffic, and at Spout Lane in Benthall the ruts were as much as six feet deep.

This above-ground pipe was laid on the track of the Coalport Dodger railway line.

As for the damage at Coalport Road, that seems to have been incidental to the overall picture.

The contemporary Wellington Journal & Shrewsbury News only gives it a passing reference, saying: “The Coalport road at Madeley was also badly cut up, and the garden produce was washed away.”

Possibly as a consequence of the 1976 flood damage, an above-ground pipe was laid on the trackbed of the old Coalport Dodger railway line, which had become the Silkin Way cycle way and footpath.

Paul France, of Madeley, who sent us a picture of the temporary pipeline, recalls that it was built after the flood.

Presumably the pipe was removed once a new surface water sewer had been built.

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