Between the 20th and 22nd of September 2018, there was an exhibition of work produced by pupils of schools in the town, together with a display of photographs from this archive. The aims had been to commemorate the flood of 60 years ago, and to provide opportunities for younger people to learn more about a significant event in Wickford’s history. The exhibition was held in St. Andrew’s Church and there was a book for visitors to add comments about the exhibition and, for people who had experienced the flood, to write down their memories. We thank them for sharing their memories.
“The pictures [from the archive] showed the spirit of the people”. Iris Jackson
“Ruined my 11th birthday. I was due to go to London for my birthday to see ‘Battle of Britain’. Still we were dry, not like many of my friends who lived near the river”. Roger Sims.
“I remember the storm and floods very well. The storm started, lightning and thunder. My father was gardening and my grandmother told him to go into the house. The storm continued for hours, leaving me with a fear of storms for many years – I was five years old. Luckily, our house wasn’t flooded. For a few days afterwards, my mum and I walked to the top of Victoria Avenue to see how far the water had gone down. One morning we saw a neighbour who had returned from work at Runwell Hospital and who told us that the water had gone down enough for her to cycle home.” Rosalind Yin (nee. Sutcliffe)
“So many memories of my sister Jeannette’s [Cardnell] wedding, which was such a happy day despite all the problems”. Pauline White (nee. Hawkins)
“Remember it well. Still decided to risk moving here, and stayed 50 odd years so far”. Hazel Chapman
“It wasn’t the last flood, but things improved with the concrete walls being built.” Brian Chapman
“it’s amazing that flooding is still an issue in Wickford.” Andy
“The stories I was told following the flood were by older siblings. This display has reminded me of those stories I was told as a small child.” Marian Ah-Kye
“I was reminded of a bygone era. The flood seemed great fun at the time.” Roger and Carmen Tyler.
Brings back lots of memories as I was 11 years old.” Carol Thomas
“Moved to Wickford in1955 so (the exhibition) brings back lots of memories.” Sheila Pain
“I remember being upset at not being able to get to school in Irvon Hill as I lived in Lilac Avenue, and flood water went to St. Peter’s Terrace”. Helen Garland
“As a 13 year old I used to come to Wickford where my parents had a weekend chalet. On the day of the flood I was with Ann Thurlow in a rowing boat down London Road. At Halls Corner the swirling waters met, causing us to lose an oar. We managed, with help, to get to the water’s edge, but do not remember what happened to the lost oar.” Joyce Ward
“I remember the floods as an 11-year-old. We lived in Castledon Road and remember my dad rescuing Mr and Mrs Holroyd, whose house was next to the river, in an old tin bath, bringing them up the hill to our house. Our house that evening was struck by a thunderbolt, and when we went to go out of the lounge the doors had all stuck and we couldn’t get out of the room. Eventually the house had to be underpinned. We couldn’t get to school at Market Road because of the floods. I remember people being rowed through in rowing boats and I also remember the double decker bus.” Janet Radley
“I worked in a furniture shop called Westons. They had a shop in the middle of Wickford and one at the beginning. They were both flooded, all the furniture and carpets were ruined and there was a terrible smell. I went to work on a bike and had to make my way through the back ways to get to the shop.” Pat Lines