1958, from Alan Hart in Wickford, Essex.

Recently I was able to copy a friend’s newspaper cuttings from the time of the Wickford floods. I think these cuttings should be shared with others. I do not know the newspaper that this cutting appeared in.

Some personal comments on the article: – Two people mentioned in the article below I have knowledge of.  Unless my memory is wrong CHARLES WESTON had a travel agency in Wickford High Street and also a removal business.  BRIAN RUFF was a solicitor with premises in the High Street near Southend Road.

This article appears to back up what I wrote about the Wickford Flood water at Battlesbridge 


“WHY? That was the angry question on the lips of everyone in the Essex market town of Wickford to-day.

WHY? were their homes flooded for the second time in I8 days?

WHY? had the authorities not done anything to prevent a second disaster causing thousands of pounds of damage and more days of misery for hundreds of people?

The rain came to Wickford in the night and with the rain the floods. The River Crouch burst its banks for the fifth time this year.

To-day I toured the town in a Land Rover driven by MR. WILLIAM CLEAVER, chairman of the local Conservative association.

Mr. Cleaver told me: “There’s tragedy all over our town. Shopkeepers have had their goods ruined several times and many of them are being forced out of business.

Old people spending the last years of their lives in peace have had their homes ruined and houses damaged. They have no money for repairs.”


Said Mr CHARLES WESTON, an official of Wickford Chamber of Trade.  “It’s no use talking any more. If the authorities won’t act we will.”

“I am going to start a petition and I feel certain I will have every name in Wickford on it.”

What is the real reason for the floods ?

Mr. S. A. Wadsworth, Borough Engineer of Basildon Town Council, told me:

“The council is aware of Wickford’s plight and is not just sitting back and letting people suffer.

The main cause of the trouble is the drainage from Basildon New Town, which the river cannot take when it has to cope with heavy rain as well.

“We are doing all we can but it is up to the Essex River Board to take action.”


At the Essex River Board, Mr. L. E. Wheeley, deputy engineer, said: “It is not really true to say that Basildon New Town is to blame. It has been an exceptionally wet year and a tremendous amount of rainwater has flowed into the river. The present position has arisen through bad planning over the years by local authorities.”

After an emergency meeting of Wickford Chamber of Trade this afternoon, the secretary, Mr Brian Ruff, said telegrams calling for immediate action had been sent to the Minsters of Housing, Health and Agriculture.”

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