The High Street and London Road

On the night of 3rd September (if my memory serves me right) the rain began.  My cousin, Graham, was down from Liverpool, staying with us in Athelstan Gardens.  My boyfriend (now my husband) was staying with his sister Gwen and brother-in law, Laurie, as his parents were away on holiday.  He left Athelstan Gardens but was unable to get to London Road on his motor bike as Runwell Road and the High Street were starting to flood.  He stayed the night with us and in the morning again tried to visit his sister.  His brother Will and sister-in-law Marie lived next door to them in London Road in the villas next to the river.  Both houses were flooded with up to ten feet of water in Will’s garage, completely submerging his car.  Anything they were able to retrieve went upstairs, including the jellies for Ken’s party.  (These were subsequently found several days later with a green topping!)  My cousin and I donned our swimming gear and swam along the London Road.  Graham is seen sitting on Gwen’s back gate.  Graham’s grandmother, my auntie Doll, is in the little rowing boat, borrowed from Lake Meadows.  The DUKW was Silva Carter’s and between this and the boats people were able to get from one end of the High Street to the other.  Ken, Graham and I helped old Mr Peacock by collecting the soggy boxes, still full of shoes, that floated out of his shoe shop.

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  • The flood was on 5th September 1958. (I remember it well as that date in 1959 we got married). On the day of the flood the journey from the Paul Pry in Rayleigh to my girlfriend’s house at the corner of Harold Gardens took us 3-4 hours, walking through 5 ft of water at Halls Corner, then up Jersey Gardens and through Athelstan Gardens to Harold Gardens which had approximately a foot of water outside her house. That was September the 5th 1958.

    By bobcroot (25/01/2016)

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