Carlisle devastated by flood yet again

By now you probably know that I got my B.A. in Carlisle, Cumbria. I was there from 2007 – 2010, and lived on Petteril Street. That street is named after one of the three rivers in the city: the Petteril, the Caldew, and the (main river) Eden.


Back in 2005, while my ex was studying there, the entire city got flooded. Apparently it was one of the worst floods they’d seen. In 2009, I witnessed a flood myself, and my entire commute to campus was submerged. Back then, our house (which had flooded to knee-level in the 2005 floods according to the landlord) was right on the outer line of the Flood Alert area, but escaped any damage.

Yesterday, Carlisle’s three rivers flooded the city yet again, despite millions of pounds worth of flood defences having been put in place since 2005.

Judging from the pictures, my old house is at least knee-deep in water again. The football stadium Brunton Park, home of Carlisle FC, is under water, and that’s just around the corner from my house. Another structure under water, almost waist-high, is St. Aidan’s Church, on Warwick Road. That’s just a few yards away from my old front door.

Carlisle's Botcherby area around Brunton Park flooded. The flooded area to the left of the picture is Carlisle FC's Brunton Park. The play button points directly to my old house.
Carlisle’s Botcherby area around Brunton Park flooded. The flooded area to the left of the picture is Carlisle FC’s Brunton Park. The play button points directly to my old house.

In fact, I found pictures of Petteril Street  (the curved street in the screenshot above) and River Street (leading off Petteril St.).

Evactuation on Petteril Street (Braod Street/Fusehill Street end).
Evacuation on Petteril Street (Braod Street/Fusehill Street end).
River Street looking towards Petteril Street.
River Street looking towards Petteril Street.
St. Aidan's church on Warwick Road, around the corner from Petteril Street.
St. Aidan’s church on Warwick Road, around the corner from Petteril Street.

The Eden, usually a fairly wide but tranquil river, is way past bursting its banks. Rickerby Park and Stoneyholme Golf Course are submerged, the flood defences failed. The water is almost at street level of the main bridge linking the city centre and Hardwick Circus (the main roundabout, which also includes a pedestrian passage below street level which is impassable, the entire subway filled with river water) to the higher suburb of Stanwix. I don’t know exactly how high the bridge stands above the normal water level, but there are usually several feet between the river and the road.

Eden Bridge and Carlisle City Centre seen from Rickerby Park in Stanwix
Eden Bridge and Carlisle City Centre seen from Rickerby Park in Stanwix
River Eden in Flood at Eden Bridge, seen from Rickerby Park towards Carlisle City Centre
River Eden in Flood at Eden Bridge, seen from Rickerby Park towards Carlisle City Centre

One of my course mates reported that his house got flooded. His mum had to be rescued by a “hunky” fireman in a dingy. The student hall of residence, The Old Brewery, sits right in shore of the river Caldew next to Carlisle Castle. All basement flats are flooded.

River Caldew and University of Cumbria's Student Halls of Residence "Old Brewery" was basement/ground floor flats flooded
River Caldew and University of Cumbria’s Student Halls of Residence “Old Brewery” was basement/ground floor flats flooded

Obviously, Carlisle is not the only place affected in Cumbria. Appleby (also situated on the Eden), Keswick, Cockermouth, Penrith and various villages throughout Cumbria and the Lake District are also flooded. More has to be done in terms of early flood alerts, flood defences across the county, and channeling/draining the water away from residential areas. It’s heartbreaking to see the same communities having to rebuild their entire livelihood from scratch every other year because what they’d just built for themselves got swept away or irreplaceably damaged yet again.

I know my lovely Cumbrians are determined people and they will be able to get back to normal eventually, just like they’ve done countless times in the past. But Christmases in Cumbria are never easy due to the constant threat of floods between November and January.

Here’s the full extent of the Carlisle Flood 2015…

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