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Coventry's Great Flood - London Daily Graphic, 2nd January 1901

We take our photographically illustrated newspapers and magazines for granted nowadays, but of course, at the beginning of the 20th century the media people of the day couldn't simply copy and paste a digital image into some desktop publishing software! From the 1890s, photographs, particularly portraits, started to become more commonly used in news publications using a technique called 'halftoning', but reporters still largely relied on sketches drawn to illustrate their articles.

The sketch below is one such example, and was used in the London Daily Graphic to illustrate the New Year floods of 1900/1901. The lower lying areas of Coventry liable to flooding stretched from Queen Victoria Road and Spon Street, along the area later to be traversed by Corporation Street, and across to Pool Meadow. Along this route is Hales Street; the place chosen in this case for reporting Coventry's flood among many other midland areas for this particular London newspaper of the day.

The Daily Graphic illustration, 2nd January 1901

The relevant part of their article had this to say....
The lower parts of Coventry are completely submerged, the water in some cases rising to the numbers upon the doors. Much damage was done in the town.

At least Coventry got a mention! However, we were not alone in suffering from the floods, which occurred from New Year's Eve 1900 going into New Year's Day 1901. The paper reports severe flooding around the Midlands, particularly around the rivers Trent and Avon, which were reported to be up to 11 feet above normal levels. An LNWR railway bridge at Leicester also collapsed due to the extreme conditions.

On Steven's website you can compare an original photograph of this flood with the modern day scene in 2010.


 
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Coventry Volunteer Fire Brigade - Illustrated London News, Jan 4th 1862
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Coventry's Great Flood - London Daily Graphic, 2nd January 1901
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New Drinking Fountain at Coventry - 17 Sep 1859
 
 
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