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east coast floods of 1953 devastated the Lincolnshire coastline and
claimed 43 lives. Do you remember the floods? Were you or your family
affected? Share your memories on the message board below and send in
any photos you have of the floods.
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floods special section including eyewitness accounts of the floods
DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THE SALTFLEET FLOOD MY GREAT
GRANDFATHER WAS DROWNRD IN HIS BUNALOW ON SEA LANE ON JAN 31
1953. I HAVE NOT SEEN MUCH INFORMATION ON SALTFLEET & HOW IT
WAS AFFECTED. I WOULD BE VERY INTERESTED TO HEAR FROM ANYBODY.
(Emails sent to this site will be passed on - Ed)
I was Elaine Thomas, I lived in sutton on sea in the high street
my father was the local post master. I do not remenber the night
really well - I was 5. What I do remember is the post men coming
upstairs to be out of the floods and going out on an army lorry
to Hannah and then from Alford to London to stay with my grandmother
, so as I watched the north east news which I pick up on sky
I was amazed at what I saw.
Everybody of whatever age seems to have such wonderful memories.
What struck me was the suffering, I know that sounds stupid
, I know that I was there but to see the courage and to realise
the suffering made me realise that although I could lay claim
to being there, my brother and I were some of the lucky ones
to be taken out and have somewhere to go.
Whilst watching the old film clips on the television I saw my
father, he was I think chairman of the foreshaw commitee and
stayed behind - the strain of which brought on pnemonia. As
a child I always remember the photograph of Mr Maxwell meeting
the Duke of Edingburgh that was in his shop. Thanks for the
memories from mrs E M Cousins
M Cousins from Bourne End
I was 13 years old and a Girl Guide with the 7th Lincoln Company.
Our Company was involved in the initial clearing up process.
A coach load went to Mablethorpe and parties of 6 or so were
allocated a house to scrub out. On opening the front door
the floors looked like they were covered in grey shiny lino,
but we soon realised this was mud that was about 4 inches thick. It
took such a long time to scrape out before you could begin to
scrub. I suppose the saving grace was that not so many people
in those days had fitted carpets, so under the mud was lino
that seemed to disintegrate when you got down to it. The tide
mark around the walls was terrible, and the paper under this
mark was hanging off. Must have taken such a long time to
dry out. It made you thankful that it was not your own home.
The most memorable thing was the terrible smell which I suppose
must have stayed around for months and months. It was quite an
experience for us young children, and quite hard work at the
time. It was nice to feel that you had done something to
help even if it didn't feel a lot at the time.
Smith (Hopcroft at that time)
I was almost 12 years old at the time, living in Boston, and
my Auntie Edie had a caravan,built by my Grandad, on a site
at Ingoldmells Point.Perhaps a couple of weeks after the breaches,my
Mum, Dad,sister and me went to the site to sort out the 'van,the
site was a mess, all the 'vans had floated to the second bank
behind the site,some were total wrecks but ours had stood up
well except the hardboard interior panels had buckled and warped
through being soaked.We worked hard for many weekends getting
the 'van ready for letting that summer and my Aunt gave us two
weeks free holiday for our efforts.
Parker from Gainsborough
In 1953 at the time of the floods I was in a pub at Wrangle
Marsh called The Sailers Home. There were four of us and most
of us were farmworkers having a pint. A chap came in and told
us the land was all flooded. When we walked out we saw a beast
track on the bank that the beast walked over and the water was
pouring over there. Mr Danby was with us who knew the area well
and he told us it would be ok as the tide was about to turn.
We came home in his car and the all the fields were flooded.
The next morning everything was under water. We were ok as we
were over the other side of the bank. We heard some stories
that farmer from here fetched beasts from further up the coast
and brought them here to look after them.
from Freiston Ings
a small child my main recollection of the floods was my father,
as a TV/ radio mechanic, repairing a television which had ben
recovered from the floods at Skegness. The wooden cabinet was
full of mud and remained so for the rest of its working life.
It did enable my family to watch the coronation later that year!
was 13 at the time and we lived in George St in Mablethorpe.
My father had been out to get a paper about 7pm and as he came
in the front door the sea water followed him, it was so quick.
My sister was 3 weeks old and mother gave her and my 5 year
old sister to me to take upstairs while she and father rescued
what they could. We were evacuated to Louth on the Sunday morning
and eventually moved to a house in Alford which we shared by
the rest of the family.There were my grandparents who had sat
on chairs on a table all night in their bungalow at Trusthorpe.
Also my 74 year old grandmother who had walked stools along
the passage and manged to get the ladder down to get into the
loft, she was alone until she was rescued on the Sunday. We
all had at least 3ft 6" of waterin the properties. My uncle
and cousin were at Sutton cinema and they were taken to Alford,
and as my aunt was visiting friends at Maltby she did not know
where we all where for some time. We did eventually return to
our homes but it was a very difficult and worrying time for
everyone.The help and kindness shown by the local people will
always be remembered.
the news/pictures in the media brings back many memories. Many
people have been mentioned who assisted during the crisis. The
regular Forces, the local heroes. But so far I have not heard/read
anything regarding the local TA Regiment who manned the search
lights to aid the filling of the sea defences at night. These
now would be in their 70`s & 80`some still alive to remember
clearly what happened during these floods in 1953. I was in
the 529.L.A.A.Regt.Grimsby at the time.
(Chalky) White from Grimsby
Bedford was the Telephone engineer on the night of the flood
keeping comunications open untill the conditions were so bad
he eventually abandoned his morris eight van and swam untill
the police picked him up and brought him back to Alford in the
father was a retired postman and special constable, who was
recruited at 1 in the morning to help. He went to Hannah and
walked with the people to guide them to Hannah Church. My mother
helped making cups of tea and sandwiches for the people from
Sutton who were billitted at the school in Alford. We also had
four people from Sutton staying with us in the house until the
waters subsided. Everyone helped in the crisis. I was about
30 and had to look after our family (13) while my mother and
father helped the flood victims.
1953 I was living in Mablethorpe and though I was very young
I have some memories of the floods. My mother and I had got
separated out in the street and were trying to find one another
again. I saw my mother on the High Street and she was hanging
on to a pole to stay above the water. I went to get to her and
something hit me in the back with which I went under and I got
washed up further along the street. I grabbed hold of some petrol
pumps at a garage which is now David's supermarket. We all managed
to get back safely in the end by clinging on to things and pushing
against the current which got under your feet. We lost our pet
chickens and stayed in Blackpool for a long time where we stayed
with my brother who was in the RAF until the sewage was sorted
out and we could return home.
from Rigsby, Alford
was 6 years old living in Marshchapel nearly 3 miles from the
sea My Father woke me on the Sunday Morning pulling back the
curtains to see water all round our bungalow.You have my photos
on the web site I have come to have a great understanding of
the sea as until 18 months ago I was the Coast Guard Station
Officer at Mablethorpe.
was 9 at the time living in Selston in Notts, my mother had
been taking me & my brother on holiday since i was 2 yrs old,
to Chaple-St-Lenards. This paticular year i can remember
looking at the destruction the floods had caused and i saw bungalows
had been moved or twisted round on there foundation slab of
concrete. Such was the force of the storm.
stories featured this week have been very sad but I remember
vividly what happened in the aftermath of those terrible floods.
I came from a loving family - was probably 'spoilt - and was
a Girl Guide in Grimsby at the time. Coach loads of us volunteered
to go to Mablethorpe and Sutton to help with the clearing up.
When we arrived it was still cold and raining and we were detailed
to help in the shops that had been under water and each was
now filthy with the mud and filth brought in. Most of my friends
were involved with just throwing away ruined stock but I have
always felt I drew the short straw! I was taken to help in a
'pot shop' and spent hours 'washing' pots that had to rescued
from large wicker baskets that had been totally under water................and
there was no hot water!!!! As I was not known for willingly
'doing the pots' at home this caused great amusement to my family
when I returned. (I don't think I have ever been so cold since
the time of the flood I was 19 days old and was staying with
my Grandmother in Metcalfe Ave in Kings Lynn with my parents
and Aunty. On the day of the flood my father had gone over
by bus to St Germans to check on their cottage. In St Germans
he noticed the river was that high that the water was not able
to go under the bridge. He entered the local pub on the river
bank and after making enquiries with the landlord they discovered
that water was entering the windows level with the river bank.
He caught the next available bus back into Lynn where he found
he could only get as far as the railway bridge in west Lynn
due to the flooding. He returned to my Grandmothers house by
pulling himself along with the assistance of fences and bushes
along the road side as the water was then waist high. He entered
the house by the living room window with my grandmother pulling
him in. They were not evacuated with everybody else within
the street due too my mother only just coming from the nursing
home with myself. They watched the water rise up the stairs
during the night. My Aunt was returned to her home, she had
been in Kings Lynn all night unable to return until the water
receded with the assistance of the Americans who were helping
to provide food etc . She had to enter the house by a step ladder
into the bedroom window. Many times I was shown the water level
marks left on the walls in my Grandmothers house, no matter
how many times she decorated it always eventually came through
as a reminder of that night. My parents moved back to Heacham
on my fathers retirement, but over the years when they have
moved due to the nature of my fathers work a big consideration
has always been made about the location of the property, and
the possibility of flooding.
Grandparents lived in Sutton with my 3 month old mother at the
time of the '53 flood. My Mum still has the teddy she was given
as a 'refugee' after the flood... My Grandad, Michael Clark,
was a teacher at Sutton Primary school and was a member, with
his wife, of Sutton Methodist chapel. His abiding memory of
the flood is seeing knickers floating down Sutton High Street,
escaping from the sewing factory in what is now the Meridale
Hall in Sutton.
husbands family had 2 caravans at Ingoldmells. They were in
a field adjacent to the sea wall. Both were damaged by the floods,
one actually landed in the boating lake at Butlins Holiday Camp.
late husband and I with our baby son were living on a small
bungalow estate in Ingoldmells just north of Butlin's Holiday
Camp Skegness. When we left our bungalow the sea was inside
and rising fast. We took nothing with us. Electricity was off
and armed with a torch and carrying our son my husband set off.
I tried to persuade two elderly couples to come with us but
they refused saying they would be okay. Sadly all four were
drowned - our immediate neighbours were our dearest friends.
We lost everything. I have photos which my husband took a day
or two later of the devastion caused to our home. On that estate
there were a total of 10 adults and 3 small children who lost
their lives that fateful night. Darkness, high winds and the
sound of the sea is something I shall never forget, as well
as the loss of so many lives.
with Charlie Partrigde, Editor of BBC Radio Lincolnshire
at the Flood Fair in Skegness.
have been reading about the floods of '53 and how dreadful they
were - it was really interesting to read people's experiences
first hand of what happened that night.
feel I have to comment on the problem of flooding around the
country. I am not old yet but I can remember fishing rivers
around this county. Many of the rivers were used by boats and
consequently needed a depth of water to operate. Over the years
there has been quite a decline in boats on our rivers. My point
being that the rivers needed dredging not just for the boats
but to maintain the depth to carry the amount of water that
we seem to think is falling more heavily these days. I don't
think we are having any more rainwater than we did 30 years
ago but we did not get this type of fierce flooding then only
in extreme conditions. I would like this theory to be put to
the environment people to find out there comments i.e.: Why
are the rivers and streams around the country not kept to a
depth that can carry the amounts of water without fear of flooding.
Instead of spending money on defences Why not tackle the problem
at sauce. If your rivers are not deep enough to carry the water
then you will inevitably get flooding. Back to the fishing I
can remember having to fish at 8ft bottom on the River Witham
through Lincoln, now you only need 4ft bottom. As you can see
the depth is only half so come on someone back me up in this.
To stop flooding you must deepen our rivers.
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