Friday, 4 September 2015

Damage caused by flooding

In the Dunfermline Journal and Advertiser for West Fife 100 years ago this weekend (to be specific the 4 September 1915 issue)

This week I was rather spoiled for choice as there were quite a few interesting choices 100 years ago in Dunfermline but I have decided to focus on one story based in the village of Cairneyhill where I grew up.  In addition I run a one place study on the people and history of Cairneyhill.
Alleged damage by flooding
In Dunfermline small debt court on Tuesday John Drummond feuar Main Street, Cairneyhill sued Andrew McLaren 37 Marlborough Road, Cathcart, Glasgow for the sum of £10 in respect of damage caused to his property by flooding.  In his correspondence he states that defender and he are owners of adjoining property on the South side of Main Street, Cairneyhill.  There is a ditch partly on the east boundary of pursuer's property carrying the surface water from the main street.  The ditch after passing through pursuer's property turns to the west and enters the defender's property closely adjoining the east boundary of the pursuer's property.
For a few years past the defender has been in the habit of discharging sewage into the ditch where it passes through his property and at the south end of the ditch where it enters a pipe the ditch has become choked with sludge.  Although complaint has been made repeatedly  to the defender he made no attempt to clean it as it was his duty in any event to do.  In consequence of his failure flooding has occurred on 3 separate occasions with damage to the pursuer's property.
The first occasion was in December 1914 when the pipe leading the water from the ditch became choked and the water overflowed onto the pursuer's land.  The water was also dammed back into the public street and from there it flowed into the byre belonging to the pursuer doing considerable damage.  On 29th June 1915 there was a very heavy fall of rain and flooding again took place resulting in damage to the pursuer's land and also to his scullery which adjoins the byre.  On 15th August 1915 there was also heavy rain and the pursuer's byre and scullery were flooded and 10 young chickens drowned.  The loss and damage suffered by the pursuer in consequence of the flooding upon the failure of the defender to keep the ditch cleaned out is reasonably estimated at the sum of £10.
Mr David Connel said the defence was an absolute denial that the defender was responsible for the flooding of the property.  The flooding was caused entirely by the abnormally heavy rainfall on 29the June.  There was a terrific thunderstorm and no ditch in the country could withstand such a heavy rain.  He also asked for specification of the damage.  Mr R W Currie said it was difficult to specify the damage when a byre was filled with a foot of water for a day.  Mr Conel said the only effect would be that the byre would be a little cleaner the next day.
Mr Currie said he had no objection to Mr Connel visiting the place.  Some of the damage could be seen still although he believed it had been necessary to remove the chickens.  The scullery had also been flooded.  The sheriff said that in the circumstances too much specification could not be given.  Mr Currie asked if defender was the owner of the ditch as as it passed through his property and if he was liable to keep it clean.  The Sheriff - I think you are bound to say Mr Connel.  Mr Connel admitted that the ditch did belong to his client where it passed through the ground.  Proof was fixed for 25th October.


Tune in next week to see what happened in Dunfermline next week 100 years ago ..........

Blog written by Jacqueline Hunter of Ancestral Research by Jacqueline, Dunfermline, Scotland. Please email me at if I can help you with your family history research.

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