There have been two major floods in the 20th century affecting the town of Newmilns. The first on August 1920 caused devastation to the lower half of the town, taking with it part of the roadway, and wall, where the railings are now in Kilnholm Street. Also lost was Miller’s Dam and an arch of the bridge at Brown Street. The rain had been constant all through the night and the River Irvine reached dangerous heights. Factories were damaged, including Messrs Henderson, Inglis & Co. at Townhead and Messrs. D. Ligat & Sons.
The second major floor was in October 1954 which was just as devastating, with the contents of the burgh coup was washed down Darvel Road from the Norrel Burn, collecting uprooted trees, shrubs, hedges and the odd van, flowing like a river of black molten lava, pushing its way through the village. Suffering the most damage was the lace factory of Henderson, Morton, Inglis, prompting the owner, Mr James Inglis to sue Newmilns Town Council for damages, for their negligence in the siting of the refuse tip which at that time was in the Isles Public Park, above Darvel Road.
The name “Lammas” is derived from Lammas Day, which falls on 1st August, hence the term Lammas Floods since the floods take place loosely around August time. Since then, there have been two further floods to the town, one in 2007 and again in 2008, where heavy rainfall caused burns to burst their banks and flow through the streets of Newmilns.
Images above of the 1954 flood courtesy of Jim Frater, Newmilns.