In 2000, some of the worst floods in the city’s history hit York, with hundreds of residents displaced and millions of pounds worth of damage done to buildings and their contents. The River Ouse burst its banks, leading to the evacuation of thousands of residents.
The flooding was the worst to hit the city since 1625, and at its peak it reached 17ft 8inches high. The emergency flood barriers which were put in to save major damage to the city reached around eighteen feet, meaning that the city was just inches away from an even larger disaster.
The city has suffered from floodings throughout the centuries. More recently, in 1968, the river reached 14ft 5 inches, which was the highest level that the River Ouse had reached since 1947.
In 1892, sewerage works were flooded, when the Ouse reached a level of over of 11 feet above its usual level, and the River Foss also flooded. This flooding caused significant damage to the properties in the Hungate area, as well as to the municipal buildings, where efforts were made to protect the city’s ancient documents and records. In 1877, the Ouse had reached levels of just over 13 feet, which had damaged houses in North Street and Skeldergate.
The depth of suffering from the floods in York was felt across the world. Even in one of the poorest countries in the world, Mozambique, individuals and families in total donated around twice the country’s average annual wage to help with the repair fund. Although this represented just forty pounds, the sentiment behind the donation was much appreciated by many in the city.