This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Thursday 5 March 2020, 7.30pm to 8.30pm
  • Location: Room P/L/001, School of Physics, Engineering and Technology Building, Campus West, University of York (Map)
  • Audience: Open to alumni, staff, students, the public
  • Admission: Free admission, booking not required

Event details

York Society of Engineers Lecture

The presentation will give a brief background of the UK Dam Legislation and a history of some of the reservoir incidents and failures over the last 150 years. It will then focus on Toddbrook Reservoir and the 2019 flood events that led to the failure of the spillway, as well as the immediate emergency measures that were implemented to safeguard the communities downstream.

Toddbrook Reservoir was built in 1831 to feed the local canal network to the south-east of Manchester, England. The reservoir is formed by an earth embankment 24m in height which retains 1.24 million cubic metres of water just 200m upstream of the small town of Whaley Bridge. In the last few days of July 2019 the area was hit by a sequence of intense rain storms which damaged the embankment’s auxiliary spillway, threatening the integrity of the dam and leading to the evacuation of around 1,500 downstream residents for 7 days whilst emergency repairs were carried out.

Tea and coffee will be served from 7pm. 

R.J. Robson

R.J. Robson graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Leeds (UK), he is a Chartered Engineer and has worked for 45 years directly and indirectly for various water companies in the North of England on water supply projects from source to tap. For the last 15 years he has worked for Mott MacDonald predominantly on reservoir refurbishment works on ‘Pennine’ embankment dams. He is currently appointed to the UK ICE ‘All Reservoir Panel’ of engineers and was directly involved in the Toddbrook incident and continues to be involved in its recovery works.


York Society of Engineers