We’re Entering Flood Season At The Arches Theatre!

The weather seems to have turned these last few days as we enter the autumn month. This change in weather means only one thing for us at The Arches Theatre, it's the start of flood season ...

You may already know that The Arches Theatre is made up of disused railway flood bridges, so the land around the bridge is obviously a flood plain. That is why we can only use our outdoor stage during the summer months when it is less likely to be covered in feet of water.

"Nobody wants to get that wet at an open-air theatre!"

We've shared a photograph on our social pages, which was taken around this time last year when the River Great Ouse, which runs at the bottom of The Arches' parkland, burst its banks. Take a look by clicking here.

There have been many floods at the venue over the years. But, there was a great flood in 1951 which you can see the photo at the top of this blog post and I'm always so shocked when I look at this photograph to see so much water surrounding The Arches.

The Arches were part of the Midland Railway's Bedford to Northampton line, which opened on the 10th of June 1872. The line began in Bedford and served Turvey station, also in Bedfordshire, Olney in Buckinghamshire and both Horton and Northampton.

Initially, there were five trains that ran in both directions each day, however by the 1950s there were only four running. The line was never very busy with passengers as the towns and villages the line served were small, and there was no significant uptake in train travel.

"In later years, fewer people were moving to these areas, so there was no real need for this line anymore!"

The railway closed to passengers on 5th March 1962 and two years later goods facilities were withdrawn. It appears that the lines busiest years were during the war when a MOD depot was opened in 1939 in Piddington. The line was closed between Olney and Turvey around 1940 so that that part of the railway could be used as a siding to store war materials.

Do you know any more about the history of the railway line that ran above The Arches Theatre? Have you got any old photographs that you can share? It would be fantastic to see them.


If you'd like to find out more about anything I've written here, call me on 01234 241357 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch.