1919 Hampstall Disaster & Winnall Site
Sunday 4th August.Report by Francesca, a Member of Astley & Dunley History Society (As seen on TV)
HAMPSTALL FERRY DISASTER
On 4th August 1919, nine people; two men, four women and three children, drowned while crossing the River Severn at the Hampstall Inn, Astley. There were seventeen people standing up in the punt which acted as the ferry boat and when the steamer, ‘May Queen’ went past, the wash swamped the boat and it overturned.
On 4th August 2019, residents of Astley and other interested people gathered at The Hampstall Inn, to remember those who drowned a hundred years ago. After an account of the disaster had been read, the plaque and information board were unveiled by Fred Greenhow and Terry Matthews. Prayers were said by Rev Mark Turner and roses were thrown into the river in remembrance. Finally a poem written by the poet laureate of Wednesbury was read out.
Introduction to the event by Clare Badham.
The unveiling by Fred Greenhows the grandson of Ellen Greenhow who rescued five people from the disaster; Terry Matthews the grandson of the brother of Harry Matthews, one of those who drowned.
August 7th 2019 another day at Winnall Mill.
An overcast but warm day, saw six members of NWAG on site at Winnall Mill. New member Chris assisted by Ian then later by Keith and Sam. The job in hand was to clear the area to the rear of the Cool House ready for drawing as part of the Stage Two report. Sam had been reinforcing the base of the Waterfall where the water enters the pipe under the track.
Looking up at the six metre plus height Winnall Waterfall.
Meanwhile Liz and Terry were perched on the top of the Waterfall looking for the start of the leat proper after a possible spillway. There are clear signs that the sandstone bedrock had been cut to form a giant set of steps to break the fall of water. This work was most probably carried out at the beginning of the watermill construction, hundreds of years ago!
More work will need to be carried out here.
Top of the WATERFALL showing the clean cut sandstone step
with a wall left to act as a possible spillway down the steps.