6th January 1915 - Salisbury Cathedral is flooded

On the 6th January 1915, Salisbury Cathedral was flooded.

An Australian newspaper called the Bendigo Advertiser reported that



LOXDON. 6th January.

Considerable damage has been caused in the fen country in Somerset. The Salis- bury Cathedral was flooded. Acccss to the camp on Salisbury Plain is impeded.

Oxford is surrounded by water.

Residents of Maidenhead are living in the upper rooms of their dwellings.[1]

A more local eyewitness account comes from Edith Olivier[2]

It was the month of January 1915, and the unceasing rain of that first autumn of the war had turned the five chalk streams which meet at Salisbury into five raging torrents which no hatches could control. At the same time, an exceptionally high spring-tide rushed up the Avon from the sea. The water could not get away. It broadened out upon the city.

The interior of the cathedral was even more lovely than the Close outside. All through the night the water had been silently coming up through the floor, and by the morning the Nave was a large still pool, from which the pillars rose and into which they threw their reflections. The medieval glass in the west window made a tangled pattern of light and colour in the water. The nave was quickly emptied of chairs and nothing broke the beauty of its proportions.

The water did not reach the choir, and services were held there throughout the flood, the congregations reaching them upon perilous bridges made of planks



[2] Edith Olivier, ‘Without Knowing Mr Walkley’, quoted in ‘A Wiltshire Christmas’, by John Chandler. Alan Sutton, 1991, 0 86299 929 4, page 132. There’s a little detail about Ms Olivier here:

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