Flooding in and around Tewkesbury in 2007
Flooding in and around Tewkesbury in 2007. © Historic England
Flooding in and around Tewkesbury in 2007. © Historic England

Flooding and Historic Buildings

Flooding is one of the most significant risks to historic buildings from climate change. Many historic buildings are in areas where there is a chance of river or coastal flooding. Even more are at risk from surface-water, groundwater or sewer flooding.

Historic buildings need careful attention

Although most historic buildings are very durable and relatively resistant to flooding compared with much modern construction, they can still suffer substantial damage.

Older buildings behave differently to modern ones and as a consequence need much more careful attention after flooding. They are often built with more permeable materials like timber, lime mortars and plasters and soft bricks. These will absorb water and need to be able to dry slowly. Repair works need to consider how the individual building is constructed and the materials used.

Historic England's guidance

The above guidance is designed to help people who live in, own or manage historic buildings that are threatened by flooding. It covers:

  • Types of flooding: river, coastal, surface, groundwater and sewer
  • Establishing flood risk to work out how to manage the risk and level of flood protection needed
  • Being prepared for flooding, minimising damage and cost-efficient precautions
  • Dealing with a flood
    • what to do when floods are forecast
    • what to do when your building is flooded
    • returning to your building
    • notifying insurers
  • After the flood
    • minimising flood damage
    • initial drying, decontamination and cleaning
    • surveying and recording damage
    • drying out
    • long-term effects
  • Where to get further advice

Learn more

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