The Wickford Floods of 1958.

Azalea Avenue

In  the 1958 floods of Wickford we have seen lots of pictures of the double decker bus stranded on Halls Corner, but there were actually two buses stranded all night. The second one was in the London Road, opposite Azalea Avenue and Bridge House Farm where Dr Thomas Frew lived. This bus was stranded all night and the driver would not leave the bus.  My husband went out to the bus with a rubber dinghy and took the driver a thermos flask of tea and a sandwich. The photograph is not very clear but you can see the bus and the water in Azalea Avenue.

The second photo is later the next day with the children playing along the road along the side of Bridge House Farm (Bridge House Close had yet to be built). The bus was pulled out the next day by a tractor driven by Mr Upson(?).

The night of the floods was quite extraordinary.  There was a violent thunderstorm in the evening with torrential rain. We just took it to be a normal storm, but at about 11p.m. we could hear voices and people going up the road, so we went outside and there were quite a few people going to the top of the road. We joined them, but by then, the water was flooding through the bungalows and London Road was completely flooded. The water did not reach our bungalow, but where the recreation ground was flooded the water lapped at the bottom of our garden.

My worry was my elderly grandfather who lived alone in a flat over the butcher’s shop on Halls Corner, as we had no means of contacting him.   Fortunately he had the sense to stay upstairs for the night while the water  downstairs lapped 5 or 6 feet. He lost a lot of personal possessions including family photographs. When we got down there the next day he was asking us to look for his spectacles in about 3 feet of murky water.  The furniture had all turned over, there was sage and onion stuffing swelling and breaking open and all sorts of things under the water. My grandfather was standing at the top of the stairs asking about his specs.  I was more concerned about standing on them in our bare feet as you could not see through the water.

Azalea Avenue, looking towards London Road. The bus is just visible beyond the bungalows.
Corinne Yeo
This photograph shows the bus more clearly.
Corinne Yeo
Azalea Avenue. Bungalows on the left, Bridgehouse Farm on the right.
Corinne Yeo
Halls Corner, taken from Tilburys' Butchers.
Corinne Yeo

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  • That was very interesting. I knew about the floods because my father’s parents lived there in a place called ‘The Hollies’, a 2 storey house. I was born in Billericay in 1955.

    There was a river that ran through my Grandparents’ garden. A massive amount of water flooded that area. My father spent 3 weeks helping my grandfather with the clean-up.

    By Patricia Spencer (05/10/2021)

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