The River Wensum is the reason the city of Norwich is located where it is. It has driven many of the processes that have shaped the city over centuries. In contrast, certain historic events of great significance have taken place over just days. One of these is the Great Flood that visited during late August 1912. This book sets that calamity in the context of earlier floods and the city’s determined attempts to modernise from the late nineteenth century.

By measurement of surviving flood plates and looking through city archives from a century ago, the author builds up a fascinating picture of how and why the floodwater engulfed the lower parts of Norwich. Evidence for the determined way in which the civic authorities responded to the 1912 flood can be seen along much of the river today, and the book helps us view Norwich’s well-known bridges in a different light. Some questions are answered and inevitably some new ones posed. The author also considers what we can learn from the past, and whether there could be the prospect of another Great Flood in the twenty-first century.

Norwich Submerged is Matthew Williams’ second book that seeks to get beneath the skin of this much-loved city by looking at its underlying geology, drainage and engineering. As in the best-selling Subterranean Norwich, he conveys a deep understanding of how Norwich works as a physical entity with a comprehensible explanation of why the place is as it is. The book is copiously illustrated with maps, diagrams, archive material and modern photos.

The book is copiously illustrated, and in colour throughout.