20 October 2011


I took this (clickable) photograph earlier today. It is of the Upper Derwent Reservoir ten miles west of Sheffield. Up ahead you can see Howden Dam which was constructed a hundred years ago. The men who built it lived in a temporary village called "Tin Town". It housed almost a thousand people and had its own church, school, grocery shop, pub and hospital. Today you'd need to be an archaeologist to recognise that there was once a village there. It must have been a hellish place to live in wintertime in spite of the natural beauty of the area.

During the second world war the RAF tested Barnes Wallis's bouncing bombs in this valley before attacking important dams in Germany. Here's another picture I took today:-


  1. I have lovely memories of walking around derwent
    on a sponsored walk with 14 paraplegics in wheel chairs and a gaggle of nurses

  2. ps I was there then they did the lancaster re run over the dam
    I cried

  3. JOHN I would cry too if they dropped a bouncing bomb on my head! By the way, is the collective noun for nurses really a "gaggle"? I thought it would be a "herd" or perhaps a "lamentation".

  4. We were there in 2008 for some big celebration - I've just looked it up, it was 23rd May 2008 to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Dambuster raids. We read about it in the Peak Times so found our way there. We sat on the banks of the reservoir - Ladybower ? - between dams as only hobnobs were allowed up at the dam wall. It wasn't long before around the corner came a Lancaster bomber so low you could see the crew waving, a Hurricane, a Spitfire and a DC3 were also there, all flying low and slow. Then two Tornados screamed overhead as low as they could go. We'll never forget it, it was so moving to see them and get a better understanding of how vulnerable those who flew them in the war would have been.
    John Gray, I cried too !!

  5. Great place, we love it and visit every time we come over to the UK. There are some great walks up over the Strines, walks where you are really 4 hours out on your own without a soul in sight - not even Heathcliff.
    It is also the only place in England where we have found a Saffron Milkcap (lactarius delicious!) mushroom, the kind Catalans (rightly) go crazy over. Delicious is the word, those Latins certainly got the name right ;)

  6. I think if you've ever seen the film The Dam Busters you can't really miss that outline of the towers, can you? Excellent photos.

  7. HELEN You were so close to my estate! You should have called round for crumpets - or perhaps some nice Yorkshire pudding! In good weather it is a lovely valley.
    BRIAN I have heard that some mushrooms from that area act like mind bending drugs. This explains a lot!
    MORNING AJ Good morning Morning AJ. You are clearly a good judge of photographic brilliance.

  8. the collective noun for a group of nurses would be a "slut"
    (excluding shirley of course

  9. Was it Barnes Wallis who left his Weetabix bobbing in the reservoir?

  10. JOHN A slut? I'll tell her that. The collective noun for a bunch of teachers is a "yawn" I think or is it a "spreadsheet"?
    SHOOTING PARROTS Those ain't Weetabix my friend! Make sure no lumpy bits are expunged from your taps.

  11. What gorgeous photos with lovely colours - - my favourite's the top one. Thank you!
    (a rather dull comment I know, but I mean it!)

  12. My comment has nothing to do with your post. I thought you might like to know that I included you in a pome in my currently penultimate post. You might also like to take a look at the ult as well.

  13. YP I think it's a "spreadsheet of accountants"!

  14. The church spire used to be visible until they blew it up about 20 years ago.

    Some people used to try and swim out to it- Health & Safety and all that.

    Apparently on very hot summer months in the 70s (probably the famed '76) the whole village was visible.

    I never realised it was a temporary village- thought they flooded a real village.

    How much blood, sweat, tears and death must have gone into the Industrial Revolution- more than any war that's for sure.

    The history of the working class in the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution is not taught in many schools.

    Check out the tower for Henry Boot's wife overlooking Dam Flask so she could watch the construction like some Medieval princess.

    Flask was the one that burst for the Great Sheffield Flood. (for a while and maybe still the largest peacetime disaster)I wonder how much was down to scrimping for profit that caused the deaths of hundreds- some things never change.

    Check out the hidden costs of death through poor construction standards (due to cost) in Britain alone- another hidden piece of modern history.

  15. JON BOOTH - I think you are thinking of the drowned village of Ashopton further back down the valley. That's not the same as "Tin Town" at Birchinlee. I believe that a great manor house - Derwent Hall was also sacrificed when the valley filled with water. There's alocal book all about it called "The Silent Valley" I believe.

  16. Thought it was that one in the first pic- the one that merges with Ladybower under the road bridge?

  17. GENERAL BOOTH No - the first picture is higher up the valley. The stone blocks you see are I think something to do with the reservoir construction. There are three reservoirs. The top is called Howden, the middle Upper Derwent and the lower one - where Ashopton was is Ladybower. I know that water is probably uppermost in your mind just now. It seems like it will be several weeks before the Thai floods fully recede.


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