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Request from Lyndaly re Hockley brook.


The buck stops here
Staff member
Lyndaly62 has sent me the following request for information

My Grandfather was a policeman and saved someone's life in the Hockley Brook flood in 1923 on the day my father was born, and I am looking for any mention anywhere.

Thank you.


Staff member
hockley brook floods 1923.jpgthere is a mention in this article about policemen and firemen rescuing people but no mention of the names of individual rescuers


ps do we know the name of the policeman jim ??
I saw this article also from Kenyon St Police Station..... The Hockley Brook DisasterThe year 1920 was the occasion of the Hockley Brook disaster in Birmingham. This brook, which rises in Warley Woods and flows into the Tame at Bromford, ran through the Hockley area. Hockley at this time was a hotch-potch of back-to-back houses, courts and workshops crammed into one area. On 15 August 1920, following a heavy downpour of rain the brook suffered a flash flood. The water level rose inexorably.
Whilst patrolling the area Police Constable C187 Bell saw eight children leaning against a wall. As he later told a Coroner’s Inquest from where he stood on a bridge he saw that the wall was being washed away. He shouted at the children, “Get away from that wall, I say,” and made his way towards them. As he drew close, the wall collapsed into the current. He grabbed out and caught one child at risk to his own safety. However, two 14 year old boys were swept away and drowned. On 6 September PC Bell was awarded five guineas by the Watch Committee and given three merit stripes.
Superintendent Penrice was also rewarded for his action in helping those rendered homeless in the flood which by the time it had abated had covered an area of one square mile.


Staff member
hi topsy ive also got that 1920 report in my files...seems like the brook had two bad floods one in 1920 and another is 1923..must have been awful

Last edited:


gone but not forgotten
Hi lindy
Yes our Lynn is correct the news paper archives are the best and the best one for it is the Sunday mercury
It was the best for all history with plenty of large pictures and the story lines of the incidences especial. Hockley


master brummie
My parents married on Saturday, 14th July 1923 and often told the story of how dad pushed mom on a handcart through the floods from New John Street where mom lived to 5 Copeley Street their new home. They had to pass along Elkington Street past the canal which was opposite Millers near the corner with Phillips Street, which had burst its banks and overlowed.


New Member
According to my aunt, the day my grandfather rescued someone from the flood was the 14 July 1923 because that is the day my father was born. My grandfather got a bravery award for it so I must dig into other places to see if I can find out more. My aunt is hoping I can find something out for her. Thanks