My Flood Story

On the night of the 1953 floods, I was living with my family in Poynder Road, Tilbury. We were all in bed at the time. There was somebody banging on the front door. My mother got up and went to see downstairs to see what was happening. Then she shouts that the ball-cock was off. I got up to see what she was talking about! The downstairs was flooded with about 18 inches of water. My mother was reaching over the bannister and trying to open the door. I said to her ‘Don’t open it’ because looking at the door jamb the water outside was higher. The lights were still on but the electric meter was under the water in the living room. We had a gas mantle light on the wall that we hardly ever used. I thought the electric will go off soon. We had a gas meter in another cupboard in the living room. The gas meter was under the water but I manage to put a shilling in it. Then I lit the gas mantle so we had some light when the electric went off. The reason that there was banging on the door was a young man called Ralf Bleazey who was deaf and dumb. He had been banging on all the doors that he could get to and make people aware of the flood. I used to go fishing so I had so thigh high boots that I could wear to go out to the floods. One of my brothers lived in Moore Avenue so the next day I thought I would go and see how he and his wife was, I remember getting a broom and turn it upside down and then pushed the handle down in front of me as I walked to see if there were any holes and not fall down them! The water was so dirty and cold. I was steadily making my way along Feenan Highway when I saw some women looking out of their bedroom windows because the ground floors was flooded. I remember one old lady shouting out to me ‘You will never sweep that lot away!’ I thought what a great sense of humour even in the state that everyone was in. This comment has stuck in my mind ever since!

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