Comrie Floods of 1898 & 1928
Glasgow Herald 28 January 1928
Comrie Church Flooded
Widespread Havoc in Perthshire
Fourteen Hours of Rain
As was to be expected Central and East Perthshire were more widely affected than the Aberdeenshire areas .Following almost 14 hours of incessant rainfall Large tracts of farmland became submerged . In the Comrie district rods were rendered impassable for long stretches . The Comrie – Crieff road , about six miles long , being almost entirely covered while a considerable area of the surrounding country was similarly affected . The River Lednock which joins the River Earn near Comrie rose rapidly by about ten feet , and , bursting its banks , isolated several houses for a time as well as sweeping from its foundations a substantially erected wall which had been built for the special purpose of protecting from the encroachments of the river a Catholic church and a house . Perthshire by reason of its extensive valleys lying between high mountains , is a district that frequently suffers from flooding on account of melting snow , but Saturday’s spates were more directly attributable to the abnormal rainfall, which, commencing about two o’clock in the morning continued without break until 4 o’clock in the afternoon . As a result the valley of the Earn was for a distance of nearly 12 miles converted into a collection of lakes .
PROTECTING WALL BROKEN
The most seriously affected part of Comrie was the eastern end of the village where the rise in the level of the water is stated to have been the greatest in many years .It lapped the lines on a railway bridge which spans the river, and entered the grounds and garden of the Episcopal Rectory in Drummond Street . An Episcopal church and a Roman Catholic church which are separated from the river by only a few yards were also surrounded . It was at the Catholic Church that the river , tumbling in unrestricted fury from the upper heights, battered against a concrete wall , extending for about 20 yards , which had been built in order to protect the little church and an enjoining house .Substantial though it was , the bulwark was not strong enough to withstand the full force of the water , and crumpled before it . Unchecked the rising torrent poured into the church and covered the floor to a depth of three inches . Thanks to the promptitude of neighbouring residents , most of the important furnishings were safely removed..
A HURRIED RETURN
Mr Donaldson the occupant of the adjoining house left with his wife for a brief holiday on Saturday morning , and later in the day was informed of the danger which the river threatened to his home . Hurriedly returning to Comrie he reached the village late in the afternoon just as the river was falling and on entering the house saw in an instant the full extent of the wreckage . The floor was covered by a thick layer of slimy sand and articles of furniture bore a “ high water “ mark . It was impossible to hold the usual service in the Catholic church yesterday for although the water had subsided , it had left behind it a thick deposit of mud and sand on the floor . rrngements were made however by the Rev Charles DR Williamson of Tomperran for worship to be held in his private chapel .
FAMILY CUT OFF
Among other places in the eastern end of the village which were affected were the Episcopal Church rectory where the inmates of the house were practically cut off from outside communication while the river was at its greatest height . The garden and grounds were completely inundated and the flood escaped by means of a narrow aperture beneath a gate to Drummond Street about 50 yards of which was covered .
SAND BAGS USELESS
An ambitious endeavour to stem the flow of the water was made by several people who had gathered to watch the rising river . They placed a number of sand bags at the gate with the object of preventing the water from reaching the street , but although the expediency arrested the progress for a short time , it was soon apparent that it was unsuccessful . The Melville Hotel which is directly opposite the rectory and two adjacent houses were left practically isolated by the flood , but by the use of planks , exit and entry was readily made possible . Considerable discomfort was caused at Comrie House from which the private electricity supply was cut off as a result of a dam being swept away .
FLOODING AT GAS WORKS
At the gas works which are near the junction of the River Earn and River Lednock, flooding was also extensive .In the course of an interview with a“ Glasgow Herald “representative , Mr Keillor, the manager of the gas works described the damage done to his home and to the work’s buildings . “ The Lednock was as high as ever it has been in living memory “, said Mr Keillor , “ and the floor of the house was covered to a depth of six inches . We were practically imprisoned in the house although by the use of waders I was able to make my way to the gas works . We had had similar experiences in the past and fortunately as we saw the river was rising to a greater height than usual we were able to remove most of our furniture to safety. But the water had left its traces and we are now busy trying to clear away the mud and slime that was left .” The gas works premises were also seriously affected . With the exception of the retort houses which escaped a similar fate by only a few inches , all the buildings were several inches under water .The violence of the river’s approach may be gauged by the fact that the railway sleepers composing the floor were wrenched from their setting and were strewn about as the flood receded .
COURSE OF THE RIVER CHANGED
But the occurrence had its consolations .The Lednock’s strong current carried before it a considerable quantity of shrubs and sand and as a result the river has slightly altered its course as it meets the Earn. The two rivers now join more smoothly than hitherto , and this , it is expected , will obviate to some extent a recurrence of flooding at this particular point .
The progress of traffic along the various roads in the neighbourhood of Comrie was impeded by the rising waters an in several cases was completely stopped .The six miles of road from Comrie to Crieff were under water nearly all day and in the Lochearnhead road traffic was practically impossible until late in the evening. The Aberuchill road was also submerged , the water covering it to depth of four feet .In places where the road dips only the tops of the hedges could be seen above the water . A similar state of affairs was experienced on the St Fillans to Lochearnhead road.. There many motorists found themselves in difficulties when they tried to force away through the flooded area and assistances had to be obtained .
DAMAGE AT CRIEFF
At Crieff the Earn rose very rapidly and in the lower parts of the town at South Bridgend extensive flooding took place .At Dallerie , the laundry of the Strathearn Hydropathic Company was isolated and at least in one employee’s house , water lay to a depth of 18” on the ground floor rooms .Earnvale Wool Mills were also surrounded by water , while on the Braidhaugh the large expanse of land of about 60 acres lay deep in flood water . The waters of the Earn here , too, encroaching on the public road and lay several inches deep . Higher up the river , between Crieff and Comrie , the low lying lands at Strowan were all under water and at places the normal river bed was converted into a vast lake .