In this week’s Know Your News, we look back at the district in the mid-1920s when five people were killed in the Skelmorlie reservoir disaster.

Also during that period, Kirktonhall Glen in West Kilbride opened for public use, while there were a number of speeding offences recorded in the main road with many vehicles breaking the 10mph speed limit.

However, the big story 90 years ago was a devastating incident which made national headlines, when the lower of the two reservoirs which supply Skelmorlie burst its banks.

Torrents rushed with irresistible force down the hill on which Skelmorlie was built. It broke down buildings and garden walls, flooded houses, uprooted trees and tore up roads.

The reservoir had a capacity of 3,500,000 gallons but heavy rainfall had increased the volume.

The tragedy occurred shortly after 2pm on Saturday 18 April when about 30 feet of the bank on the south-west side facing the sea gave way, and with a great roaring noise, the water poured through the gap and descended from the hilltops. Five were killed.

The fate of Birchburn Cottage, the residence of the Dallas family, situated a short distance below the reservoir, was sealed in the space of a few seconds. Mrs Dallas, her two boys Fred, 5, and Alex, 7, and her niece Winifred, 8, were in the cottage when the first rush of water came crashing down which sounded like “a large motor car descending a hill”.

Mrs Dallas cried: ‘Come on bairns’ as they rushed to the door.

She ran towards Taymouth House with the intention of getting a message conveyed by telephone of the emergency.

She had no sooner left the door of the house when a second great burst of water came down, sweeping away the house with its occupants as though its structure was like cardboard. Mrs Dallas and daughter Lizzie escaped but Winnie was picked up on the road next to the house occupied by Captain Scott who rushed to the child’s rescue but unfortunately the eight year old had died.

Son Alex also succumbed to the tragedy after being carried through gardens and road ways, while brother Fred died a short distance away from the house.

Full story in this week's Largs News.