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Manchester Chief Superintendent of Police saves lives following flooding

Year 1840

Read by James Sarson – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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January 24, 1840

On the 24th of January 1840, a rapid and alarming inundation of the river Irwell took place near Manchester. Captain Sleigh, Chief Superintendent of Police at Manchester, received information that some cottages were surrounded with water, and that the inhabitants could not get out.

On riding to the spot, he at once observed that nearly the whole of the surrounding country was inundated. No boat could be procured ; and every moment it was expected that the whole range of slender brick houses, which now seemed literally far out at sea, would have been swept away.

Out of the palings and gate of a gentleman’s house Captain Sleigh instantly constructed a small raft, which enabled him to go alongside the flooded houses, and admitted of his bringing two children the first trip to the shore ; but he found only one person could with safety be conveyed at a time. This service took three hours to perform, and he succeeded in saving all the inhabitants.

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