The Great Flood of 1901

by Jim McIllmurry

North Street Tragedy

The Low-lying Dougher cemetery was under water for weeks after the great floods of November 1901. It caused extensive damage to surrounds and toppling headstones and simple wooden crosses floated as soil was washed away. It caused a lot of anxiety for those with loved ones buried there.

The storm of the 12th of November 1901 was remembered for many years. It created havoc in Lurgan. It started in the small hours of the morning as hurricane force winds brought slates and ridge tiles down. As people prepared to leave their homes for work, the rain came, sheets of hail pelted down, no factory horns blew that morning and no one left their homes. it was clear that flooding was inevitable. The Flush River broke it banks, the water proved too much for the Flush factory works and raw sewage flowed down High Street and Market Street.

The rain persisted all morning and by noon the Lurgan Weaving Company in Factory Lane was under water, Looms were covered and yarns destroyed. The houses in Factory Lane flooded and residents had to take refuge in upstairs rooms. It wasnít until the next day that volunteers brought aid to the residents, a rowing boat was brought up from the Demesne Lake to bring them hot soup, and this was passed through the windows on the upper floors.

Several stores at the back of High Street owned by George Anderson filled with hundreds of tons of grain from the summer harvest was destroyed. The Lurgan Brewery also flooded and all of its stock of malt was destroyed, vats were overturned and kilns washed out. The Pound River burst its banks causing flooding of Union Street and Mooreís Lane, Rogerís Court, Edward Street and Waring Street.

Sarah Anne told the doctor what she had been advised to give him, the doctor said this was the cause of his death. Another nine month old baby had died in the town recently after being administered Laudanum.

Scaffolding around the new tower of St, Peterís Church blow down puncturing the roof of the parochial house. People had to abandon their homes around Lough Neagh and cattle and other livestock were drowned. Sewer points from Flush Place to the Rectory Field burst out sending raw sewage into homes. The Lakeside factory flooded as the Demesne Lake overflowed, Lower North Street was also under water.

Lurgan Council expressed its regret that so many businesses had suffered and especially the poorer people of the town, many had lost everything. There was no insurance or compensation paid out in those days.

Our thanks to Jim for his kindness in giving us permission to publish these stories here.

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