Graham Hitchcock, Felixstowe
Hitchcock was working for Fisons at the time of the floods. Here is
his written account of that night:
had started work from school in September 1952 at Fisons, Harvest
House, Felixstowe as an office junior. A great company, with a wonderful
Chairman, Sir Clavering Fison.
On the 1st February 1953 we all went to work to discover how much
Felixstowe had suffered.
As I worked for the Office Manager (Dennis Howard) my duties covered
the building maintenance of Harvest House. George Horseley, the
maintenance foreman, suggested we go on the roof. The sight of the
flooding from the Ordnance Hotel to the Docks, along Langer Road,
Sir Clavering Fison asked for 12 volunteers a day to help people
move their furniture and house contents to storage. He made available
all of the garage space in Bath Road (normally used by firms' cars).
I went to help on the Wednesday after. The water on Langer Road
pavements was still to the top of the wellies. There were dead piglets
and other rubbish floating down the road.
Nearer the dock you could see the prefabs (which had floated in
the flood) at funny angles. I am told that sadly some of those who
drowned were unable to get out of their homes because the current
of water was too strong. Some people had lost finger nails as they
tried to reach air pockets.
One pensioner I visited was fishing at the bottom of Constitution
Hill. He told me the sea was coming in so fast that he had to run
for his life over the road up the hill.
Sir Clavering Fison allowed the Fison lorries to move the contents
of houses. I remember trying to move a piano - it just collapsed
as the glue gave way. Carpets were so heavy too but they had to
be moved to assist drying out. Houses were damp to the top of the
windows. The promenade was ripped up.
The yacht pond extended to cover the whole dug out area beside the
Spa Pavilion. I am told there was a dance on that night. People
fled for their lives as the water came over the area.
My father was a Works Manager for Fisons. We visited his works at
Coprolite Street on the Docks in Ipswich. As the floods receded
you could physically see the heaps of potash and kanite decreasing
into the Dock. He always said: "If the high tide is between
12 and 3 and the moon was full, plus an east wind, there is always
a risk of flooding."
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