Ironbridge flooding – impact on the Rogers family coracle shed

11 May 2020

Well, what a year it has been and we are only 4 months in to it!

We are all concerned about Covid-19 and when we will be able to get out safely on the water again with our friends. We have forgotten what life was like during the February floods.

Each November and January/February the River Severn usually floods, and it has been known to rise 20ft or more. The last time it did this was in 2000. It does seem reach this peak about once every 20 years, stretching back to records in 1908, 1928, and of course the Great Flood of 1794 which the Iron Bridge survived.

This year was worse than usual as the river rose to high water level twice and took three weeks to go down as the ground in the flood plain was totally saturated. We also had an incident of flash flooding in Dale End before the river level rose.

We watched nervously as the river level rose to a high water level of 21ft. Fortunately we had managed to get the new timber supports and braces into place underneath the shed in the three weeks before the flood. These took the load of the shed from the random collection of worm-eaten props and poles that had supported it since the 1920s.

The river level rose higher and higher, but fortunately didn’t reach floor level. Harry Rogers knew where to site the shed. We lost four weeks work and were due to start back when Covid-19 struck and our carpenters had to down tools!

It is now the end of April and we are hoping to start back on site within the next week or so, with completion around the end of June.

Meanwhile we have a fascinating exhibition in the New Coracle Shed at the Green Wood Centre, but can’t open it to visitors. Luke Perry is working on a magnificent sculpture of Tommy Rogers to be installed along the river-bank next to the Museum of the Gorge which displays one of Eusty’s coracles.

We did have a whole programme of coracle related activities to launch at Easter through to the end of December. Never mind we’ll find another way of delivering some of them online! We still don’t know whether we will be able to run the August Bank Holiday Coracle Regatta this year, but as soon as we know will let everyone know via Facebook. Hoping to see you all again soon.

Marion Blockley – Ironbridge Coracle Trust

Editor's note: the new coracle shed had its soft opening in December. The official opening was due to take place around Easter, however this has been postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown in the UK