TitleSheffield Hallam University: Sheffield Flood Claims Archives (SCFA) database
AdminHistoryAt midnight on 11 Mar 1864 the Dale Dyke Dam at Bradfield, near Sheffield, collapsed, releasing a torrent of water that killed some 250 people. It devastated an area that stretched from the Dam, down the Loxley Valley, through Malin Bridge and Hillsborough, to Sheffield town centre and beyond. Following the disaster, compensation claims were made by individuals and companies against the Sheffield Water Company for loss of property and livelihood, and for injury and/or death of relatives.

The Registers of Claims, held by Sheffield Archives (ref. CA7), form a unique and wide-ranging snapshot of a major industrial centre in the mid-Victorian period. The Claims are rich in the details of everyday-life, mainly of the poorer classes, with lists of household goods, furniture and personal possessions. They also provide extensive information about commercial and industrial enterprises of the time, including inventories of industrial machinery and tools, manufacturing materials and stock, and the entire contents of shops. About 7,000 claims were made in total.

A proposal for a project was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund in Summer 2003, with support from Sheffield Archives, local historians, history groups, MPs and Sheffield Hallam University. £49,300 was awarded under the ‘Your Heritage’ scheme towards the cost of making the Sheffield Flood Claims Archive accessible via the Web, and the project itself was underway by February 2004. The project website ( went live in April 2006. The website makes the Claims freely accessible and completely searchable.

One of the project tasks was to design the database into which the claims would be transcribed, and which would be the basis for the website. The structure of the database had to accomodate the sometimes unstructured entries in the ledgers, serve to represent the claims as web pages, and support analysis of the overall set of claims. A copy of this database was donated to Sheffield Archives (ROM/110) in Jan 2018.
DescriptionMicrosoft Access database (29MB).

Transcriptions of Flood Claims (1864) from the Flood Claims Ledgers at Sheffield Archives (CA7/1-11).
Extent1 CD-ROM
AccessConditionsUse Sheffield Flood Claims Archives (SCFA) website
RelatedMaterialSheffield City Archives:
Records of Sheffield Corporation Water Department relating to the Sheffield Flood of 1864 (including Claims Ledgers), 1864 - 1902 (CA7).
CustodialHistoryCopy of database donated to Sheffield Archives by Project Lead, Professor Steven Earnshaw, Sheffield Hallam University, in Jan 2018.
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