Red Cross in Tilbury during the 1953 floods

My mother who lived in Brennan Road, Tilbury, was in the Red Cross from the late 40’s until the late 70’s, and was in charge of Flood Relief for the area in the period following the Great Flood. The HQ for flood relief was the, then, Seamans Mission in Dock Road, then known as the Flying Angel. The commonwealth were very generous to us after the floods. We received cotton bedding from India, although many people did not like this as it was brown or dark blue, unlike the white bed lined we were used to. Australia sent woolen carpets, Canada sent pine furnature, wardrobes, chest-of-draws etc and the cadets in Australia sent disaster relief kits. I was given mine at a coronation party held in the Methodist Hall in Calcutta Road and it was in a chocolate box and contained a notebook and pencil, ball, flannel and soap and toothbrush amonst other things.
One of my greatest memories was being with my mother on a daily basis in with the items to be distributed in the large hall at the mission. The carpets were stored flat and reach almost to the ceiling in the large hall. I used to climb on these and sent hours on top of the pile each day. The sad thing about this time was that my mother had to have police protection as some of the people actually threatened her life as they believed that a neighbour had received more items than they did. If they received bed linen and a wardrobe and someone else had had a carpet they saw this as unfair and blamed my mother. Flood relief and distribution went on for almost two years as I remember (I was 5yrs at the time) and was very time consuming and tiring. We were also at the time trying to mend our home as the flood water came up to the arch on the fire place in our house and much damage was done. (but that is a different story as I still remember vividly the actual night of the flood and days after). The flood was one of my first memories and something I still remember well.

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