The  year of 1933 saw Bacup and Stacksteads hit by some of the worst Blizzards for twenty years. Roads were made impassable by huge snowdrifts leaving buses and other vehicles stranded, with farms and outlying areas completely cut off. Snow began falling on Friday afternoon 24th February 1933 following days of bitter cold weather. Within a few hours the storm had erupted into a blizzard. Such was the fury of the gale that by the evening, huge snowdrifts had  accumulated causing chaos to traffic throughout the Rossendale Valley.Saturday and Sunday of that week the weather worsened with Farmers and outlying villages being cut off and having no alternative but to dig themselves out. Buses were suspended from the Friday night until the following Tuesday. Four farms on the old Roman road leading from Step Row, Broadclough to Deerplay Bar, had to be dug out by Corporation workmen. On the Sunday morning whilst trying to deliver his milk Mr Norman Howorth of  Higher Deerplay Farm ended up with his horse and cart stuck in a snowdrift near Doals Church. Whilst residents in a row of houses known as Newkin or Nook End at Deerplay woke on the Sunday morning to find the snow had drifted to the top of their doors and completely covered their windows. One resident Mr Albert Taft stood on a chair in his doorway with a shovel and tunnelled his way out of the house while other residents stayed imprisoned in their homes all weekend. The weekend saw no work carried out at the Deerplay Colliery because 9ft of snow covered the rail track running along the moor. The hills around Britannia had drift's of up to 16ft deep, railroads and trucks at Cowm Quarry Britannia were buried  under several feet of snow making it impossible for any work to be carried out until the following Tuesday. With the same occurring at Lee Quarries again massive snowdrifts covering all the rail works and trucks. Saturday January 19th 1963 changed from a cold but bright day to a night of howling winds and  blinding snow which in some place's piled into drifts 12ft high. One of the worst hit areas of Bacup was on the Mettle Cote Estate  which left  Fairview Road cut off from traffic for 3 days having been blocked  with huge drifts which were not cleared until the following Tuesday. Sprinkler systems in many mills and factories were set of by the extreme cold. Mr Harry Woods landlord of the Deerplay pub opened his doors as usual at 5pm on Monday 21st January but did not serve a single person. The River Irwell was made the receptacle for all solid matters that were  found to be inconvenient or unprofitable. All old building materials, ashes and cinders from the houses, and from all the steam engines in the town were poured into he river.  The results were inevitable in that this raised the bed of the river and so whenever there was a great storm the lower lying areas of Bacup flooded. In July 1871 the water reached a height of 5ft 9 ins in St James Street. The afternoon of the flood  began as a fine and sultry day and as the day advanced so the heat did increase and clouds began to gather from the North. By 2 o'clock the sun was so entirely hidden by clouds that the mills and shops had to light the gas lamps. The storm when it burst over the town  hit with the force of that of a tropical storm. Vivid flashes of lightening were accompanied by cracks of thunder that felt to shook the very earth. Then came the rain, not in drops or even streams but in great sheets.  The two branches of the river that join near the Mechanics Institute soon broke their banks and overflowed. The waters poured down Burnley Road, on one side and the Rochdale and Todmorden road sides on the other. Bursting through cellars and  the main sewers they quickly laced all the low lying places of the town under water. In the Todmorden Road area the  mill of Mr Maxwell, known as Vale Mill was rendered useless. At Albion Mill which is built over the river, the waters burst through piling loom upon loom breaking iron supports as if they were matchwood. On the Burnley road the houses bordering the river were flooded, and the parapet walls of the bridges washed away along with a machine shop belonging to Mr Aitken.Many of the counters in the shops of St James street, were wrenched from their moorings and in all the shops the flood reached but inches from the ceilings. In the midst of all this the gas was extinguished, due to pipes in the road being broken in all directions. Horses were swimming about in the streets and carts floated about randomly. A gentleman's carriage and timbers smashed through windows of  the surrounding houses. At the Waterloo Hotel  which is built over the river the water broke through with such force the boards of the bar were pulled up and the landlady Mrs Blakely and some of her regulars had to be hauled up to the higher floors by ropes. With exception of one mother and child who where in the sitting room and could not get out. The poor woman appeared at the window and stood on the ledge with the child in her arms screaming for help. The Spotland police at this scene came floating down on a hastily built raft made up of planks and clothes props and succeeded in rescuing the woman and child along with Mrs Ashworth Taylor and her children. In Irwell street, Yorkshire, street St James street, and Back Irwell street not one piece of pavement was left but all had been swept away leaving massive holes in their wake. At the other end of St James street a large bottle of cream of tartar floated out of Mr Maces shop and floated onto the shelf in Mr Entwistles drapers shop. A few doors away a widow woman by the name of Taylor lost her life and two children washed away to the gas yard were saved from drowning. Opposite the George and Dragon stood a long stone watering trough which was said to be as old as the Inn itself this was washed away  in the flood and never recovered. At Mr Utleys shop  at the corner of Union and Irwell Streets the water stood at 4ft 5ins amongst which Mr Utley was plunging about trying to save his valuable woollen and ready made goods. Constantly round him swam his brown retriever dog which showed the utmost anxiety for its master safety, which it expressed by gently laying hold of him by the arm, and trying to force him upstairs by pushing its nose against his back. Whilst Mr Utley kept going upstairs with certain goods it seized any article that floated past him and followed him upstairs with it. Mr T Ashworth of the  Green Man Inn had two pigs one was drowned and the other swam down the road into St  James street through Mr Sugden's drapers shop and out into the kitchen whereupon it swallowed a half pound of butter that had been swept of a shelf. It then swam in hot pursuit of a cabbage  which it caught and munched up happily. Bacup flooded many more times over the years the stories always carried in the Bacup Times, Click to  read more flood stories.
Rochdale Road. St James Street about 1926. Broadclough in winter. Stormy Weather Home Early Days Transport & Work Services Wartime Entertainment Memories & People Weather Links Bacup Center 1941. A sketch of how the river Irwell was once so full of ashes that it overflowed so easily. St James Street flood.