In the winter of 1841-2 a great flooding of the Middle Level fens occured, in fact almost all of the Level was underwater due to the rivers being swollen and the resulting floodwater was unable to subside. The mills could not make head way against the floods and the water rose fourteen feet above zero at the old Bedford Sluice. Denver Sluice was in danger and banks were torn down by the violence of the torrent.

It was decided that advice was urgently needed, so Mr James Walker a Civil Engineer who worked for the Middle Level was given the task in 1842 to improve the drainage of the Middle Level of the Fens.

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