Sheffield Flood      Claims Archive

About the Claims


Six of the eleven volumesOne of the largest insurance awards of its time, the claims against the Sheffield Water Company following the Flood were enabled by a special Act of Parliament.

The Sheffield Flood Claims Archive comprises

Of the claims for damage,

The claims were mostly heard between November 1864 and August 1865, with a few dealt with in December 1865.

Around ¾ of claims were awarded (by agreement, by consent, or by assent); a considerable number were withdrawn (perhaps to be submitted by employers, or already beneficiaries of the Relief Committee, who had disbursed £20,000-worth of aid), and a small number were dismissed. The totals claimed and awarded were:

  No of Claims Total claimed Total awarded  
Damage to Property 6,524 £367,686 £259,414 (Reg 1–8, 10)
Injury to People 347 £21,467 £5,029 (Reg 9b)
Loss of Life 116 £45,146 £9,545 (Reg 9a)
Total 6,987 £458,552 £273,988  

67% of awards were for less than £10; 1% of awards were over £1000.


Front coverTo put the awards into context, some examples of the value of money of the period are as follows:

Typical of salaries for the period would be grinders at around 4/- per day (£1 a week) – though rates could vary from 3/6 to 6/- (4312). Labourers’ rates varied from 6d to 5/- a day (1585). Cleaning up after the flood earned 4/- per day (36).

Other examples of values include: Bread was typically 6d a loaf. Shoes ranged from 5/- to 10/- (321). At the other end of the scale, a cottage would typically be let for £6 per annum (46) or 2/6 per week (178), and the rebuilding of the Malin Bridge Inn was estimated at £676 (5915).

A glossary explains words appearing in the claims which are no longer in common use.

A detailed review of the claims and their context is The Flood Claims: A Postscript To The Sheffield Flood by Jean Cass


Note on units used in the claims

Many of the claims use units we are no longer familiar with. We all know pair and dozen, but even gross – a dozen dozen, or 144 – is dying out. How long before we struggle to remember pounds and ounces? This list summarises some of the units used in the claims.

oz ounce   28.3 g
lb pound 16 oz 454 g
st stone 14 lb 6.35 kg
qtr quarter ¼ cwt, 2 st 12.7 kg
cwt hundredweight 112 lb 50.8 kg
  ton 20 cwt 1016 kg
in, " inch   24.5 mm
ft, ' foot 12" 30.5 cm
yd yard 3' 0.914 m
p perch 5½ x 5½ yards 25.3 m²
r rood ¼ acre, 40 perches 1012 m²
a acre 220 x 22 yards
(1 furlong x 4 perches)
4047 m², 0.4 hectare
  pint 20 fl oz 568 ml
  quart 2 pints (¼ gallon) 1.14 l
  gallon 8 pints 4.55 l
  bushel 8 gallons 36.4 l
  bag 3 bushels, 24 gallons 109 l
  tierce 1/3 pipe: 35 gallons 159 l
  barrel 36 gallons 164 l
hhd hogshead 1½ barrels, 54 gallons 245 l


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