A 600-year-old stately home made famous by Colin Firth’s Pride and Prejudice walk out of a lake in soaking wet clothes was evacuated after ‘devastating’ flooding swept away parts of its historic gardens and threatened ‘priceless’ artefacts.
Lyme Park, near Stockport, in Cheshire, was evacuated on Wednesday afternoon after days of rain across the region which saw an Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter drafted in today to stop a reservoir collapsing in nearby Whaley Bridge.
Staff at the historic grade-II listed home, which doubled as love interest Mr Darcy’s home Pemberley in the
The 17-acre gardens, which host the reflection lake – where Firth’s Mr Darcy emerged from the water in front of Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth Bennett while wearing a soaking wet shirt – bore some of the worst damage, the
Paths, fences and numerous areas of planting were washed away by the force of the waters, with some plants carried nearly a quarter of a mile.
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Lyme Park, near Stockport, Cheshire, which was made famous by Colin Firth’s Pride and Prejudice walk out of a lake in soaking wet clothes, was evacuated yesterday after ‘devastating’ flooding swept away parts of its historic gardens and threatened ‘priceless’ artefacts
The 17-acre gardens, which host the reflection lake – where Firth’s Mr Darcy emerged from the water in front of Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth Bennett while wearing a soaking wet shirt – bore some of the worst damage. Paths (pictured above), fences and numerous areas of planting were washed away by the force of the waters, with some plants carried nearly a quarter of a mile
The lake itself, which was pictured after it had overflowed, was also damaged.
A video filmed yesterday showed a torrent of brown water cascading down the main stone steps and flooding the vast lawns either side.
Some visitors had to be rescued by the home’s rangers after becoming separated from their cars by floodwaters, it was reported.
The home was originally built as a hunting lodge and was later transformed into a family home.
It has undergone extensive alterations since being built in the 1400s and has been owned by the same family, the Leghs, for nearly 600 years.
Artefacts on display at the home include the Mortlake tapestries, the finest clock collection in the National Trust, and the Sarum Missal.
The book, commonplace in early modern England, is a handwritten text of the Catholic mass.
The version at Lyme House, printed in 1487 by William Caxton in Paris, is the only surviving copy and is largely intact.
National Trust staff and conservation specialists were at the home yesterday assessing the extent of the damage to buildings, paths and roads.
Car parks and some of the grounds were still underwater yesterday.
Inside the home, work started on cleaning up debris and mud left by the water.
Some visitors had to be rescued by the home’s rangers after becoming separated from their cars by floodwaters, it was reported. Above: The damage caused to areas of the car park by the raging floodwater
National Trust staff and conservation specialists were at the home yesterday assessing the extent of the damage to buildings, paths and roads. A video filmed in the gardens of the home yesterday showed water cascading down steps
Lyme Park’s lead ranger told the Manchester Evening News after the home was closed to the public that he was ‘unable’ to say when it might reopen.
He said there was ‘widespread and extensive’ damage to paths and roads around the home, especially around streams and ponds which overflowed.
‘We’ve taken the decision to remain closed to ensure we don’t put any members of the public at risk, and so that we can start the repair work,’ he said.
Colin Firth, who played Mr Darcy in the BBC’s 1995 production of Jane Austen’s iconic novel, famously walked out of the home’s reflection lake in a soaking wet white shirt while Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth Bennett watched on
Lyme Park, pictured behind Firth and Ehle as they pose next to each other while in character as Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy, doubled up as Mr Darcy’s Pemberley in the BBC’s TV adaption
‘It’s devastating when we see the place we work so hard to look after impacted in this way.’
Today, the Royal Air Force were forced to intervene with a Chinook helicopter to try to stop Toddbrook reservoir, in Derbyshire, from collapsing after it was ‘badly’ damaged during heavy rain and police urged up to 6,500 inhabitants in the nearby town of Whaley Bridge to immediately flee.
Residents spent the night away from their homes during what police described as ‘an unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation’ caused by five days of downpours.
Emergency service workers were scrambling to save the 19th century dam which could be set to burst any minute, with teams laying sandbags to prevent the water breaking through and wiping out the picturesque town.
Officers spent hours going door-to-door around homes in the Derbyshire village, as residents fled the area in case the 1.3million tonnes of water contained in the huge Georgian-era Toddbrook Reservoir starts to escape.
The Environment Agency issued a severe ‘danger to life’ flood warning after 82.8mm (3in) of rain fell on the hills above Whaley Bridge in 48 hours up to yesterday afternoon, the equivalent of a month’s worth of rain.
An RAF Chinook helicopter flies in sandbags to help repair the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir near Whaley Bridge this morning
Where Whaley Bridge is in relation to the reservoir and the dam wall which has a hole in it, and the flow of the water
The reservoir, which contains 1.3 million tonnes of water, has seen ‘extensive’ damage from flooding including a huge hole in the dam wall – with the helicopter sent from RAF Odiham in Hampshire to assist emergency efforts.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the Chinook would ‘drop one-ton bags of aggregate – a mixture of sand, gravel and stone – into Todd Brook. This is intended to stem the flow of water into the reservoir.’
Videos shared by Shirebrook Fire Station showed the Chinook laden with the aggregate as it flew above the area and hovered above the the dam wall. Police said 400 tonnes of aggregate would be brought by the RAF.