Forgotten Floods

Forgotten Floods

The History Channel  |  June 17, 2017

The Asian tsunami of 2004 took thousands upon thousands of lives. It was a natural disaster of epic proportions. Like all tsunamis, it came with little warning. Most of us believe that a tsunami on this scale couldn't hit Europe - are we wrong? In 1607 Britain experienced one of its greatest natural disasters. An enormous flood engulfed Somerset and Monmouthshire, taking a huge number of lives and reducing thousands more to poverty. Traditionally scientists had regarded this forgotten tragedy as a freak storm surge. But in a 2003 Timewatch Professor Simon Haslett and Professor Ted Bryant challenged this view - gathering evidence to suggest that 1607 was in fact a British Tsunami. But the story doesn't end there: inspired by what they had discovered about 1607, Simon and Ted decided to delve deeper into the archives. They believe they have emerged with evidence for at least four more British Tsunami. Simon and Ted's work remains highly controversial. After the Tsunami of 2004 the British government commissioned a report which concluded that risk of tsunami in Britain is small. To weigh up the evidence, historical cartographer Vanessa Collingridge will be joining Simon and Ted on their journey. Vanessa's quest is to find out for herself whether she believes Simon and Ted are right - and to discover if the risk of Tsunami to Europe is bigger than most of us think. Timewatch will join Simon, Ted and Vanessa as they gather evidence for possible tsunami from 1014 to 1929. While she does this, with the help of Natural Hazard's expert Prof Bill McGuire, Vanessa will also explore how and why tsunami are created - and why they can be such an extraordinarily destructive force.

The Asian tsunami of 2004 took thousands upon thousands of lives. It was a natural disaster of epic proportions. Like all tsunamis, it came with little warning. Most of us believe that a tsunami on this scale couldn't hit Europe - are we wrong? In 1607 Britain experienced one of its greatest natural disasters. An enormous flood engulfed Somerset and Monmouthshire, taking a huge number of lives and reducing thousands more to poverty. Traditionally scientists had regarded this forgotten tragedy as a freak storm surge. But in a 2003 Timewatch Professor Simon Haslett and Professor Ted Bryant challenged this view - gathering evidence to suggest that 1607 was in fact a British Tsunami. But the story doesn't end there: inspired by what they had discovered about 1607, Simon and Ted decided to delve deeper into the archives. They believe they have emerged with evidence for at least four more British Tsunami. Simon and Ted's work remains highly controversial. After the Tsunami of 2004 the British government commissioned a report which concluded that risk of tsunami in Britain is small. To weigh up the evidence, historical cartographer Vanessa Collingridge will be joining Simon and Ted on their journey. Vanessa's quest is to find out for herself whether she believes Simon and Ted are right - and to discover if the risk of Tsunami to Europe is bigger than most of us think. Timewatch will join Simon, Ted and Vanessa as they gather evidence for possible tsunami from 1014 to 1929. While she does this, with the help of Natural Hazard's expert Prof Bill McGuire, Vanessa will also explore how and why tsunami are created - and why they can be such an extraordinarily destructive force.

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