Leagrave Marsh, c.1910 [Z1306/75/12/9]
Sunday 16th April 1916: For the past three weeks the Midland Road area at Leagrave has been in a “deplorable” state, with houses flooded and dome wells overflowing into gardens (and even into houses) due to an unusual rise in the ground water level. At least two houses have had water seven inches deep under the front room floors, and it is likely this is true of many others. This is the third time this has happened in the last fifty years, but the first time since the area has been built on. Midland Road was previously part of a valley running through the hills between Luton and Dunstable to the River Lea. The heavy rainfall had left the lower part of this area waterlogged, and it became impossible to empty the dome wells as they quickly filled up again.
The Luton Borough Surveyor believes the blame lies with the construction of the cottages, which are at a considerably lower level than the road. A large adjacent plot of land had flooded, with the water rising above the air ventilators for the ground floors of the houses. This has caused all the lower rooms to flood, with standing water just underneath the floors; the tenants are having to live upstairs and the smell is “awful”. At the top of Dordans Road a large lake was covering about an acre, over two feet deep in places. Although the Council’s drain was able to cope until the second severe storm, it is clear that additional drainage will be needed.