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The Great Floods of 1953 and 1947
Flooded canal
Floods in early August 2002

Yes, the 21st century floods have caused misery in North Yorkshire.

But fifty years ago, we had floods that cost 300 people their lives. Do you remember?

Delve into the past

On January 31st, we commemorate, the fact that fifty years have passed since the Great 1953 Flood. Was it the worst in your memory, or do you think the 1947 deluge was more destructive?

If you lived through them, please share your memories with those of us who haven't seen anything worse than the November 2000 soaking.

Let us know what you remember of the 1953 flood by filling in the comment form.

I was on vacation at the Redacre Mill hotel, Hebden Bridge from January 28 1953. I was just 6 years of age. Now, 50 years on, I can still remember my mothers screams and my grandfather panicking and rushing to get us all upstairs, safe. During all of the commotion, my grandfather, William McDonald, was swept away by the currents. He was just 55 years old. The family, myself, my two brothers, my parents and my grandfather were sitting in the living room relaking and listening to the wireless.
Robert Snowden, Medway

The floods of 1953 didn't effect York as much as the 1947 floods did. In 1953 flooding effected the East Coast and was caused by high tides but the 1947 flooding came after weeks of bitterly cold weather and heavy falls of snow. Long icicles hung from guttering on houses and buildings. Supplies of most things ran short because transport was badly effected. At that time hardly any domestic properties had central heating and solid fuel was in short supply. When the thaw eventually came it was devastating. The flood waters rose rapidly and houses on both sides of the Rivers Ouse and Foss and all the watercourses and becks burst their banks causing chaos to transport, preventing people from getting to work and school. The pipework on buildings and domestic dwellings which had become frozen during the previous weeks burst so that residents were without fresh water. People carrying buckets of water from neighbouring properties became a familiar sight. There were small boats ferrying people across flooded junctions, stands were erected along footpaths so that the public could walk above the flood waters.Some people were evacuated from their flooded homes and others who had prefered to stay put received supplies by boat. After the waters receded the clean up took months.
Jean, York

Different to other floods as it was caused by a storm surge from the North Sea. Remember the sea coming over the sea front at Hornsea, taking a car 200yards up New Road. This was Saturday. On Sunday I travelled back to Norfolk where I was serving in the RAF. That county was on full alert when we arrived and my RAF Station (Feltwell) was cleared to take the homeless. The fens were under water for weeks. We National Service spend days tipping sand bags - by hand - into a huge breach in the dykes at a place called Wiggenhall St, Mary Magdalen. At the time it seemed one of the most futile exercises ever - we made no impression at all on the rushing water.
Geoff, Thirsk

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