What began as a tiny fissure in a dam wall led to catastrophe on a huge scale, on March 11, 1864.
Around 300 people lost their lives in the horrific disaster that was the Great Sheffield Flood.
The Dale Dyke Dam at Bradfield burst at around midnight under the strain of 690 million gallons of water, flooding the Loxley Valley then racing on through Hillsborough, and beyond.
Hundreds of houses, businesses and livelihoods, were devastated by the raging torrent that swept via the River Don towards Sheffield city centre and out to Rotherham via Attercliffe.
The settlements of Bradfield, Owlerton, Loxley and Malin Bridge had all but disappeared under water.
Eleven members of one family in Malin Bridge died in the tragedy.
And one man’s body was reported to have been found 18 miles downstream from his home,
Fifteen bridges crumbled under the force of the deluge, and 700 animals perished.
The privately-owned Sheffield Waterworks Company had built the dam and so was liable to give out compensation to more than 6,500 claimants.
A relief fund of £400 to support the homeless was set up by the mayor of Sheffield, Thomas Jessop. But need was much greater than could be met by this sum, and he requested donations of a day’s wages from those who could afford it.
This bumped up the fund to £42,000, to help stricken families and individuals who were still reeling from the effects of the flood.
Among those who contributed was Queen Victoria, who sent a personal cheque for £200.
The Dale Dyke Dam collapse led to eventual reforms in engineering practice. The dam was rebuilt on a smaller scale in 1875, and today, a flood memorial stone marks the site of the original dam wall.
The 150th anniversary of the disaster in March 2014 was commemorated with special events and services.