Welcome to the Waterproof Memories blog

On Boxing Day 2015 after a long month of wet weather many parts of Northern England and Scotland were hit by severe flooding. Storm Eva, one of a series of storms that affected the UK during the months of November and December, struck on Christmas Day night. 9,000 properties across the country were affected in one of the worst single flood events on record [1].

York was one of the worst affected cities. Hundreds of residents were evacuated, and hundreds more properties affected by floodwater [2]. Homes and businesses were damaged, with total cleanup and repair costs for those affected running into the millions.

One of the many businesses affected by the flood was the JORVIK Viking Centre, which was severely damaged when the River Foss burst its banks on Boxing Day 2015. Our own experience of being flooded and of the long process of cleanup and rebuilding has led us to start the Waterproof Memories project, a chance for the York community to reflect on our experiences of the flood and its aftermath, and to celebrate our resilience and our plans for the future.

We will be collecting memories from the people of York affected by the floods in the form of audio recordings, images and other submissions. These submissions will form a permanent public archive of people’s experiences and stories to be submitted to York Explore to become part of the City’s history. If you would like to contribute, we would love to hear from you. Please email waterproof@yorkat.co.uk and tell us how you would like to be involved in the project.

As our participants generously share their memories and experiences with us, it’s here on this blog that we will be sharing them with you. Our first stories, shared over the next few weeks, will mostly be those of the JORVIK Group staff that were affected by the floods and the story of JORVIK itself flooding. We will then introduce the stories of others in the community who experienced the floods as we gather them over the coming months.

[1] Priestley, Sara, Winter Floods 2015-16, CBP7427, (Westminster: House of Commons Library, 2016), p. 6

[2] ‘A Year After the Deluge, York is Still Counting the Cost’, The Guardian (26 December 2016) [www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/26/a-year-after-the-deluge-york-is-still-counting-the-cost]