night really there was nothing, but the next day, it was usual for
Grandma in those times (Grandfather was fisherman) and she would
stay with us when he was at sea. That Saturday night she was with
us up at Sparhams buildings, away from the Beach Village.
"Well what happened was the next morning Mum got up and went
to put the kettle on – no gas. In ’53 in Sparhams Buildings we had
a small coal-fired cooking range. Mum lit the fire, made the tea
and that was that. Grandma had her cup of tea on the Sunday morning
and off she went, home.
"A short while after she reappeared – she said I’ve just met
my milkman and he says the Beach is flooded….we knew nothing of
this at all. She disappeared with the next door neighbour to see
and of course…found the whole place in complete devastation.
"That’s why no gas came through of course, the gas works had
been put out. The gas works was only 50 yards from the sea.
"But my memories after that, it must have been the next day…I
went with the next door neighbour, who was a little older than me,
Grandma wanted something out of her house...
"We got as far as the bottom of Maltster School, the water
was still there. Walked across, on his back – piggyback fashion,
to Grandma’s house. Managed to unlock the door, pushed the door
open – still on Brian’s back.
"Inside the furniture was floated over various parts of the
house. We managed to get a drawer out of the sideboard where the
money was, put it in my pocket and got back onto terra firma. It
was a frightening experience...
"After that I can remember the camaraderie of all, because
a lot of my aunts and our relatives are Beach people and they all
ganged together and helped each other out. There was this feeling
of togetherness and when you’d cleaned your house out you went somewhere
else to clean somebody elses.
But my lasting memories of Grandma’s house in Wilde Street were
every year she had to redecorate because half way up the wall in
the lounge the salt marks would come through to give the indication
of how far indeed the water had gone up in Wilde Street...
"At the time of the flood there was this dank watery smell
and everywhere it was a sort of horrible, not sewage…but it was
an unpleasant smell.
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