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Bagley Dyke – our secret river

Story by Graham Jones

Bagley Dyke underground river tunnel.
Bagley Dyke underground river tunnel

These amazing photos show a river, which runs under the northern part of Burngreave.

Bagley Dyke starts in Longley Park and then flows behind Longley estate before going underground through a tunnel as it enters the grounds of the Northern General Hospital.

It continues underground under the busy road junction at Fir Vale and then surfaces near Owler Lane for a short distance before going underground again and eventually tipping into the Don at Brightside. The tunnels were built in the late 19th century.

Drains at Bagley DykeBagley Dyke is not the only local river that disappears underground. The River Crab, which starts in Little Roe Wood, makes its way through to “The Sink” at Crabtree Ponds and then mysteriously vanishes.

What had our Victorian ancestors got against these little rivers?

The National Library of Scotland has a great website for historic maps for the whole of the UK and the world. It’s a great place to start to explore what our area must have been like in years gone by, or you can call in at Sheffield local studies library in the Central Library, where they have a good selection of old local maps. The Friends of Burngreave Cemetery also have a number of old maps on display in the Old Mortuary Chapel.

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