It was interesting to see all the pictures and video clips on social media of my flooded hometown yesterday (and here’s my own contribution, of the Wood Brook as it re-appears from its journey under Market Street and Ashby Square.)
Loughborough sits on a flood plain and indeed, the proximity of water courses is one of the things that’ll have attracted settlers here in the first place. Burleigh Brook and Wood Brook watered the land which fed livestock and grew the fruit and vegetables early Loughborians put on their tables. The town’s first industries used the Wood Brook as a power source, too, with dye-works beside it along what is now Devonshire Square and plans made for a water wheel at John Heathcote’s lace factory in Mill Street (now Market Street), though it seems the idea was abandoned due to an insufficient flow-rate of water.
So we shouldn’t be surprised when our town’s streets get a little wet during torrential rain. Inconvenient though it is, the town’s bordered by waterways and it doesn’t take much for the water table to rise and cause them to overflow.
This happens less frequently since the building of nearby reservoirs in Victorian times, but flooding of the town centre was once a regular occurrence, as can be seen in an extract from the Parish Registers which appeared in ‘Chapters in the History of Loughborough’ in 1883, by my old friend, Reverend W G D Fletcher.