The afternoon of Tuesday 7th March was a significant one for hundreds of people living in the area around the former college site in Chilwell.

Many residents first report hearing a loud rumbling noise like thunder, then buildings shaking as if in an earthquake. This stopped, to be followed by a roaring noise. An unlucky few were then subject to the sound of thousands of gallons of water dropping onto their homes, along with rocks and earth thrown into the air by the water force.

Contractors developing the former college site had somehow managed to drill through one of the high capacity water mains on ground close to the tram line. This resulted in a burst which blasted a hole a couple of metres across, sending an extraordinary amount of water dozens of feet into the air and onto houses the other side of the tracks on Gwenbrook Avenue and Lime Grove Avenue.

Sadly it took Severn Trent Water several hours to halt the flow, by which time the flood water had swamped a vast area downhill, emerging from drains and causing chaos as far away as The Beekeeper on Queens Road. The trams were forced to stop running for a couple of days whilst repair work was carried out, and many people were evacuated from their homes.

To get an appreciation of the scale of it all, search on YouTube for ‘Beeston burst pipe’, and you will see some astonishing drone footage.

As usual, Beeston’s community spirit shone through, with those affected thanking those who had helped them during the emergency. It is lucky that no one got seriously injured, and we hope that everyone who suffered damage to their homes are able to get back to normal asap.


Photos by Ewan Cooper