1953 Floods

Photographs of the damage caused by the floods

By Laura Matthews

Photo:The Jetty, Great Yarmouth in the 1953 floods

The Jetty, Great Yarmouth in the 1953 floods

Great Yarmouth Museums

Photo:Southtown Road looking south during the 1953 floods

Southtown Road looking south during the 1953 floods

Great Yarmouth Museums

Photo:Wood block surface of the South Quay broken up by the storms

Wood block surface of the South Quay broken up by the storms

Great Yarmouth Museums

Photo:Wellington Pier and promenade, 11.30am 1st February 1953

Wellington Pier and promenade, 11.30am 1st February 1953

Great Yarmouth Museums

Photo:Two boys rafting on the flood waters, 1953

Two boys rafting on the flood waters, 1953

Great Yarmouth Museums

This page was added by Laura Matthews on 20/03/2007.
Comments about this page

I remember it well, we lived on Police Station Lane, (now Dukes Lane) and on February 1st, because our school was flooded, (Technical High School) my brother and myself decided to go and ''have a look'' finding the two barn/shed doors, we had a go at rafting, I remember it well, I fell in, not long after the photograph was taken.

By George Hunter
On 22/11/2008

i well remember 31 1 1953 as usual iwas going roller skating in the winter gardens on arrival we were told due to high winds the glass in building was unsafe so we made our way to the empire cinema during the film a message came on the screen for anyone living in cobholm and southtown to go home at once no reason was given but when the film was over a message was shown telling everyone to leave the cinema by the side exit doors on leaviing we walked to front of the cinema to find the sea lapping the front steps when i got home to havelock road the water was all over the road but not in the house my father was a coach driver for norfolk moter services and he had parked his bedford coach in clarence road outside richmand & pritchards garage and all you could see was the coach roof you can see a pitcure of this in the time tide muesuem at the time i was an apprentice at h cole & company in steam mill lane when i went to work the next day all the workshops were deep in mud &water and it took sometime to get back in working order A Symonds 4 Overmead Green Oxford 0x46dj

By asymonds
On 16/12/2008

Yes I remember the floods of 1953, I would be about 8 at the time. We lived at no. 95 St.Nicholas Road, opposite Smiths fish and chip shop where my mother worked. We stood on the doorstep until very late watching the progress of the flood water. Fortunately it stopped at the silk mills pub.

By mike griffin
On 19/12/2008

hiya my nanny and grandad got married in the floods and they sed it was terrible in the flood feb 1953 and they told me how bad it was from Southtown and Cobholm and I hope there isn't anymore bad floods because I really like it there it is where I originally come from. 20/08/2010

By stacey chaney
On 27/08/2010

I remember my dad lifting me up on his shoulder to take us out of the flooded house on Breydon Road, Cobholm and into an army lorry which eventually took us to Caister Holiday camp!

By Val
On 14/01/2011

I can remember the flood of 53. I would be about 5 at the time. We lived on Jellicoe Rd ,my father was a policeman.  I can remember him coming home soaking wet ,he took off his wellington boots and water came out of them over the kitchen floor. We didn't see much of him over the next few days ,only to change into dry clothing and go back on duty, I can remember my mother taking me over Jellicoe bridge to the sea wall and looking at the water lapping up the wall.  It would have been a few hundred yards normally to the sea.  We were luckier than a lot of people, especially those in Cobham and Southtown. At the time you didn't realise how bad things were for them, but in later years on looking back ,I felt sorrow ,then admiration for them.  They didn't moan ,they just carried on as best they could . It was great when the waters subsided cause we saw more of my dad. I do believe several police officers at the time were given commendations for their service above and beyond the call of duty.

By Keith Banner
On 17/02/2011

In responce to Mr Mike Griffin's letter dated 19/12/2008 of the floods of 1953. I remember him and his mother as I also lived on St Nicholas Road at No 86 with my mother and grandfather George Nichols, who was a previous landlord of the Silk Mills pub. Also my uncle Bob Nichols of Nichols Taxis lived next door at No 87. Another of my uncles Reggie Nichols that lived on Tottenham Street had a side show on the Britannia Pier with "Billy The Scroby Seal". The show later moved to a site on the beach near the walkway under the Pier, but as a result of the flood water that swept up the beach on that fateful night both Billy and side show were sadly swept away. Any information as to peoples memories of Reggie or Billy would be very useful. I also remember the Priory school being used as a depot for donated goods to be distrubuted to flood victims. Roy Nichols 11/2/2011

By Roy Nichols
On 17/02/2011

I remember the 53 floods very well. I was about 6 and we lived in Common road, Southtown. I remember the flood water rushing through the allotments. A neighbour had a punt and punted against the tide to get the animals out of the allotments. He was one of the Grant family and a brave chap. I remember looking out of my bedroom window at the water below the railway line. A frightening and fascinating time.

By Barry Calver
On 09/01/2012

After all these years I can still remember details of the 53 flood as if they had only just happened.  I remember the man at the back gate trying to get to his mothers in Stafford Road on a raft made from wood that had drifted out of Jewsons.  The car that had been almost totally covered by the flood water being dragged away by a tractor.  Being taken from our house in Wolseley Road after 3 days of living upstairs watching the Ross carriers from Jewsons getting some of the people out by putting planks from the carrier to the bedroom windows.  We could not get out of the downstairs as the doors had swelled with the water and stuck shut.  After climbing down ladders we were taken in a row boat from our house in Wolseley Road into Station Road then into Lichfield Road and then being transferred to a RAF lorry; the water was still deep and Lichfield Road was as close as the lorry could get.  In the lorry we had our first food for three days a ham sandwich, my dog had the crust.  We were deposited at the foot of HavenBridge. Before we walked to my Grandmothers house in Deneside we went into the bridge and asked if we could have a cup of tea, a short fat man said I have plenty of tea but no cups and he pointed to urns of tea, after 3 days without drink and only 1 ham sandwich I think my fathers answer was unrepeatable! (Things like that stick in your mind). Father took us to Grans and then returned to Southtown the same day and with the Police he helped in the rescue and recovery of bodies, in fact there was a small piece in the Mercury.  There were many stories of ordinary people helping each other two that I know are true and remember is Longs Milkman Cecil Morse who managed to get hold of a boat from the boating lake and took milk to his customers passing the milk up in a basket on a long pole. Also, my cousin tried to walk home through the flood water and was almost drowned but managed to get out of the water with the help of Nurse Nights who took him into her house.  Let’s hope and pray we never see such a disaster such as this again.

By Jim Stuart
On 10/12/2012

Hi, could someone please let me know if there was a police station built in Cobholm before or after the floods.  Thanks.

By Kayley Hamilton
On 15/01/2013

Hi, I lived at 68 Mill road and remember looking out of an upstairs window and watching an army DUKW vehicle driving past on its way to rescue the farmers up on Breydon marshes.  We were rescued and taken to the HospitalSchool on the Market Place.  Later on I remember we were issued with sacks of wooden blocks taken from the roads (they burnt very well as they contained a lot of tar).  I do not remember any police station in Cobholm, but I do remember a large police box near the Lady Haven pub, similar to the Dr Who model.

By Ian Johnson
On 04/02/2013

We lived in Beach Road Gorleston, our house was flooded; I was 6 months old but my 7 years older brother remembers well.  We had to live upstairs in the house till they rescued us through the bedroom window.  We had no toilet water, some food.  My parents said the house was unliveable for a long time but we had to live in it as there was no rehousing.  I have a photo of our house taken during the floods.

By Sandra Thiess
On 04/02/2013

I was about six when the floods came in Great Yarmouth I lived on Gordon Road. They lifted me out of the boat and a policeman took me to a house in Gorleston - my mother and father did not know where I was but I remember being in this house and there was a little girl about the same age.  My father found me after 2 days and then I went to the Caister holiday camp with the rest of my family

By Linda Forbes nee Farley
On 14/10/2013

I believe the sea came in as far as Stalham. Several people in the same family died in the pub at the gap at Sea Palling.

By Fran Cawdron
On 04/02/2018

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