The story of the floods in 1953

Photos, time line and some statistics

Jack Allen, who died in January 2012, aged 86, rows across the flood waters in Civic Square.
Thurrock Museum Service
A cyclist struggles with the floods
Shan Creadstunt

Low pressure and high tide raised sea levels at Tilbury by six feet.

On 31st January 1953, a storm surge in the north sea caused extensive flooding in the Netherlands and Eastern England. The surge reached the Thames estuary at around midnight. By 2am, the sea wall at Bill Meroy Creek next to Tilbury Fort had given way and flood waters had inundated Tilbury Town. Similar flooding occurred in West Thurrock causing extensive damage to the industrial areas. Despite the damage, the floods resulted in the death of only one person in Thurrock.

2,500 homes were flooded and 1,300 people were evacuated.

More than 2,500 homes in Tilbury were flooded and 1,300 people in the town and other low lying areas were evacuated to the higher ground. The Chadwell St Mary Primary School was used as a welfare centre. 

On 13th February, Tilbury and other areas were visited by the young Queen Elizabeth II. Jane Brooks, a researcher at the BBC, would like to hear from anyone who remembers the queen visiting Tilbury during the floods of 1953. The BBC is making a film for the Diamond Jubilee and would be interested in talking to you. E-mail her at janebrooks52@talk21.com 

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  • The Guy rowing the boat is Jack Alan, Jack married Joyce Girt. Jack was the Taxi owner of Tilbury Taxi’s that was located on the Tilbury Town Southend side of the station

    By tom (16/11/2016)
  • The cyclist is my grandad Peter Jennings.

    By Kelly Harris-Hart (01/02/2013)

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