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Author Topic: Sheppey floods  (Read 34189 times)

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Offline ann

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #47 on: February 15, 2014, 12:43:22 »
RE: the 1897 flood.

'The extensive marshes around the mouth of the Medway in northern Kent were particularly vulnerable. Detailed manuscript accounts surviving for the manor of Barksore in this area show that it suffered serious damage in the storms of 1286–87, necessitating ten times the normal expenditure on walls and ditches in the marsh, and was even harder hit in the 1330s when large numbers of sheep were drowned. A major breach in a sea wall occurred in the winter of 1334–35, probably caused by the same surge that struck the coasts of Flanders, Holland and Zeeland in November 1334. Several thousand man-days of labour were expended in repairing and heightening sea walls on the manor over the following three years, only for the work to be largely undone by a further inundation in the winter of 1337–38.

A vivid picture of the almost tsunami-like impact of a major storm surge in this same location several centuries later was given by Mr. A. Hawkins of Lower Halstow, adjoining Barksore in 1897:

‘The day was the 18th of November 1897 and the wind had switched suddenly into the opposite direction from that it had been blowing the day before. The day was overcast and dull, and the morning tide had ebbed so far out that no water could be seen in the creek. After dinner the tide suddenly appeared far down the creek and rushing up with a ridge of white foam at its front edge. Very soon it was breaking over the sea walls, overflowing low-lying roads, houses and buildings. The marshes of great Barksoar Farm were flooded and many sheep were drowned in spite of great efforts of Mr. Hanmer and his farm hands…’
(cited by J.H. Evans ‘Archaeological horizons in the North Kent marshes’, Archaeologia Cantiana 66 (1953), p118).

Two farmhands stranded on the sea wall between two breaches had a narrow escape and were rescued by boat '.

Offline conan

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2014, 19:50:11 »
Three more pictures of the flood at Sheerness telephone exchange have come to light





another one of the pump
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Lofty

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #45 on: April 24, 2012, 20:47:36 »

Lofty

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #44 on: April 24, 2012, 18:00:22 »
Sheerness Floods 1978
   
The noise of the storm was getting worse so, I turned  up the volume on my  television to distance myself from the turbulence outside.
My three cats, each with their ears cupped like radar scanners searching for danger in the unaccustomed noise sat , two in an armchair and one on the settee, their now favourite places in our new home. We had not long  moved to this bungalow on the top of the hill.
Three days  previously I had joined the Library and browsed through all the books I could about the local coastline and tides.
I noticed that the sea defences had been made higher with some of the sea wall dwarfing the two storey  houses across on the lower part of the road.
I was a Townie, just arrived from the “Smoke”, so I enquired from residents about the urgency of the new sea wall. No one seemed to know when it would be needed to protect the low parts of the island.
The safety of the island , was not a thing that  seemed to bother them. The general attitude was not of interest.
This prompted me into getting information of this pending flood. The books I found  all seemed to point to the night of Wednesday, 11th January . “This is that night” I thought, “But I must be wrong, because no one cares.”
I went to bed disbelieving, and tried to sleep. My bed seemed to move with the wind, and the new roof, tiled only five months previously, seemed to be lifting and about to come off, or would it fall in on my head as I lay there? 
Wind blowing the letterbox flap, caused me to get up and put a strip of  Sellotape across it to stop the noise. I opened the front door to receive the door mat and two milk bottles into the hallway. I forced the door shut and locked out the intruding  wind before returning to bed.

The next morning I rose at six thirty as usual, after two mugs of tea, a quick wash, and feeding the cats, I was off to Sheerness to work.

I started  my little Austin Van, and  pulled up the  steep slope  to the lane, down this 
unmade road into the new housing estate, I turned out of the estate, down towards the sea wall, where I saw the moon shining brightly  and reflecting in the water that was blocking the road.

“It had happened”, the water was across the road, and half way up the house to my left that had just changed ownership, “What a shame!”

I had stopped a few feet from the edge of the flood water, I could not go this way, I climbed out of my van in time to stop two following cars from overtaking me into the water, I signalled them to take the other road then reversed and followed them.
The wheels were bumping over large stones , and soon I was driving in wet sand, afraid I was going to get stuck.
I passed the Warden Bay Pub, on my left a large tree root  floated towards me. Cars were abandoned all the way up the road, in a foot or so of water. Leaning against a car were pieces from a Wooden toilet hut , blown from the Holiday Camp across the field, passing a Caravan Camp I saw the roofs appearing just above the water, one good thing was that this was the closed season, and no one was in those Caravans.
As I followed the sea wall into Sheerness, the road was scattered, with timber floating, bits of smashed boats, seaweed , plastic containers of all shapes and sizes, and hundreds of plastic refuse bags, the going was slow as I had to pick my way through the debris, I was going through water a foot deep, and it was coming in around my feet, my legs were now soaked as the water came up to the seat.
The first shops I came to had a lot of water outside, it lapped around the two telephone boxes outside the Post Office, Colin Johnson local resident was standing half inside phoning in the account of the flood, that he would normally read himself from Radio Medway in Chatham, passing through the flooded Broadway, I turned in to Trinity Road and parked outside the Council Depot where I worked, as I walked through the few inches of water here, there was sea weed left as the water started to drain away.

On entering the carpenters workshop, a large Nissen Hut I found that  it was still four inches deep with water. The “Chippies” were trying to dry out their tools that had laid in water-logged, tool boxes. Luckily enough I had left my tools in my van the night before.
The woodcutting  machinery was out of action because the electrics could not be used. The gas heating was waterlogged and had to be shut off , we filled sand bags  and put them in front of the workshop doors to try to stop the water coming in, and baled out the water as best we could.

Ironically the flood water that had entered the yard was now running away into the open top of the well at ground level inside the Wellhead building. Next to the Nissen Hut. I remember wondering if it would contaminate the water in the well. But I dont think that  was still in use, as the water now came in pipes under the Kingsferry Bridge.

As things became sorted out , we were given jobs to do to prevent further flood damage at the next tide that was due at two thirty that afternoon, sand bags were brought  from storage, instructions were given to use all the building sand in the depot.
       
Every man got to work filling the sand bags, we soon found that  you cant fill a nine inch sand bag with a twelve inch shovel, without cutting the fingers of the person holding the sand bag!,

 Half the bags were rotten as we filled them they spilled the sand back onto the heap, it was it was also discovered that if you cut the bottom out of a bucket, it could be used as a funnel to fill the sacks, one chap used a  traffic cone.
We filled never ending bags, that were quickly distributed to houses to keep the   water out. There were women calling at the depot with prams asking for sand bags to put  at their front doors and children carried out heavy bags between two of them.
Some people took between fifteen and twenty  bags in their cars to distribute among neighbours, the bags had all gone now and the sand was running out, somebody suggested taking sand off of the beach, but the raging sea still covered that so no sand could be got from this source.

As it got near the afternoon’s high tide, we were told to make our way up to the sea wall, where there was a breach, that had allowed  the Town to be flooded, a mobile Readymix Cement lorry, was backing along the top of the sea wall to deposit its load into the breach,
we were to cover this with sand bags to protect it, before the sea washed it away, it would take about two hours to dry.
As we got to the top of the sea wall we got the full blast of the wind coming straight in from the sea, this made it very difficult to stand, we became aware of large timbers washing in with the waves, they must have come from the deck of a ship out at sea, these were whole trees sawn into planks then banded into bales, as they hit the sea wall they split open, like surf  boards coming at us like battering rams. If any of us got hit we would have been badly injured or worse.

Behind us was the flooded moat of the old dock, the sea was rising, the waves were hitting the top of the seawall and breaking over us . There was only one way back. “If the sand bags don’t come soon  it will be too late” the voice of a colleague voiced all our thoughts.

The sea was now lapping the wet cement, and a fierce spray began washing it away. No sand bags had arrived, my donkey jacket and overalls were soaked through, and my Wellington boots were full with water. I held my hat in place , and had to take my glasses off, my face was stinging with the wind my eyes running, a large timber was thrown up at us, landing on the sea wall. We must leave or be washed away by the tide.

We made our way along the top of the sea wall to the shelter of an upturned deck chair hut, that was still full of deck chairs, with the door still padlocked, we cowered behind it in the lea from the gale force wind, we stayed till three o’clock

Water came over the wet cement, and washed it away, the Beachfields  Park soon got  flooded, we made an attempt to place boards between the walls that  once had been the picnic area, but the boards just floated as the water reached them, an archway between The Travellers Rest Café, had a torrent of water coming out into the High Street, as there was so many shops and  super stores we were told to block this off, before the water got into them, but a confrontation with the owner of The Travellers Rest, who now got the whole of the flood into his shop and cellars, had to be restrained, the water now crossed the Main Road and flooded the station  the Railway lines were submerged for some way back along the track.
Orders came to go to help the old age pensioners in the ground floor flats, that were flooded opposite the Police station.
There was flooding in the Tree Houses each block named after a tree. Two of us were detailed to 1 Cedar House, we entered a corridor with brown water, I knocked and the door was opened by a woman, who said she was from the W.R.V.S. and was trying to bale out the water. We went in, a tall elderly woman in a red dressing gown, the bottom of it soaking wet, stood before us, we told her we had come to help, and she must go to the school  that was being  used as a reception centre, for her safety, but she would not  leave.

We tried to get the carpet out of the bedroom, but wasn’t sure what to do with the furniture while we removed it, everything was soaked, eventually we got the carpet into the yard, it was so heavy that as we lifted it onto the clothes line the line stretched  and let the carpet droop onto the muddy ground below.
In the living room we saw a white dog shivering  in a in a basket he was soaked, and as he moved the basket tipped over and floated, he barked at us, “don’t touch him, he doesn’t like men” his mistress told us. I asked her its name, and she said it was “Pip”. I said “hello Pip” a few times, then bent down  to him. He lifted a paw to shake, after that he calmed down and was O.K.
One flat we called at, we were turned away, in fact an distraught elderly woman told us to push off, she later lit a fire to dry out but set the flat alight, it was easily extinguished with the water from the floor.

All the blocks of flats housed pensioners on the ground floor, so it was the less able who suffered most,  mattresses were beyond saving, and the bedding which hang down into the water, chests of drawers became swollen and could not open the draws, these flats were low and the flood water entering the drains higher up would discharge up through their toilet basin, mixing effluent with the water, this was extremely unpleasant.

Warden Bay had some flooding in Jetty Road area, and the Holiday Chalet and Caravan sites, a large red Mobile Lorry with a mounted crane parked the night before leaned over dangerously as the soft sand is washed away from its wheels.

Some weeks later, Mayor Cllr Richard Barnicott gave a party for all the Council workers in the Queenborough Hall who had given help to the people during the time of the flood.

There was a big spread of food, the sandwiches and pies and cakes soon went but nobody wanted the jellies or fancies.

We had to pose for a Photograph for the Newspaper.

Looking at that picture now there are very few still alive as it was forty years ago.

Offline busyglen

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #43 on: March 20, 2012, 09:43:44 »
Thank you so much for posting this.  I was thrilled to see a mention of the Naval Recreation Ground where I used to live.  The house I lived in was originally the Pigeon Loft which is mention in the article.  :)

Further to the above, I also noticed that the grounds were flooded up to 2-3ft high.  In the 1953 floods, the grounds were a bit above that, as the water just reached the top step leading into the house.  Luckily it was built on stilts (never really knew why) so we were safe and dry. :)
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #42 on: March 19, 2012, 23:23:14 »
Thank you so much for posting this, it was very interesting!
Thank you. As I live on Sheppey it was also rather scarey!
I can remember, in the mid 1960's, standing on the step on the sea wall at Bluetown watching the largest tanker ever to be floated into the Grain oil refinery, the tanker taking advantage of an abnormally high tide. The sea was almost level with the top of the wall. It was a strange feeling to be standing on (dryish) land and have your eye almost at sea level!

Offline Paul

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #41 on: March 18, 2012, 09:30:11 »
 :)
Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Offline kyn

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #40 on: March 18, 2012, 01:25:04 »
Thank you so much for posting this, it was very interesting!

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #39 on: March 18, 2012, 00:24:40 »
                                                                                                            THE SUBMERGED RAILWAY.

'As soon as the invasion of the sea flooded the railway lines, Mr H. B. Stanford, station master, communicated with the head officials in London, and Mr W. Forbes, the General Manager of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway lost no time in starting for Sheerness to take what action might be deemed necessary. Mr Forbes travelled to King's Ferry by train, and waded through the water along the Queenborough line to make an examination as far as possible. He returned to Sittingbourne upon completing his task, and made arrangements for a ballast train to be despatched into Sheppey to repair the washed-out permanent way, beyond the Swale. A ballast train, made up of sixteen loaded trucks, started from Sittingbourne on Tuesday morning to commence the repairs. The heavy ballast train afforded a good testing for Swale Bridge, which was found to be in a secure condition.
The line was damaged in several places, and at one point where a halt was made the break van at the end of the train began to sink into the ground. The train was moved on for a few yards, and a gang at once took up the metals and sleepers and put in ballast to strengthen the foundation of the line. The small bridge which crosses the creek just beyond Queenborough Station was found to need attention. The efforts of the gang were hampered by a considerable portion of the line being under water. There will be no delay on the part of the Company in making good the damage and getting the line into working order as soon as possible.

                                                                                                           FEEDING THE PIGEONS.

The Naval Recreation Ground has been submerged to a depth of 2ft. or 3ft., but the pigeons in the naval pigeon loft have not been neglected. The signalmen who are in charge of the loft have crossed the ground daily in diving costume to attend to the birds, all of which are safe.

                                                                                                      THE TOWN WELLS. - A CAUTION.

The liability of the sea water getting into the town wells was one of the first thoughts, which occurred to the Council's officials, and precautionary measures were taken to prevent such a disaster, but it found its way beneath the foundations. As there must, of neccessity, be mingled with the sea water a certain portion of sewage from the drains, it will be necessary to pump a large quantity of water from the well before any can be lifted into the tank or turned into the mains.
Now it so happens that the tank is only connected with the rising main, and not with the sewers; it has therefore been necessary to break this connection, and most probably the water will be run into the streets to find its way through the gullies, until the danger of pollution is passed, and it may with safety be turned into the ordinary services. No water has been pumped into the tank since Monday, so that that which has been supplied hitherto from this source is perfectly pure. To help the town under these unfortunate conditions, the dockyard authorities and the War Department, whose mains have for some time been connected with the town mains, have kindly consented to do all they can to keep up a supply to the town but, unfortunately, that cannot extend over only a limited portion of the town area.

                                                                                                     SYMPATHY WITH THE SUFFERERS.

In concluding our report of the greatest calamity which has overtaken Sheppey in modern times, we cannot refain from tendering our sympathy to the sufferers by the storm and flood. To some, we fear, the losses are almost ruinous, and we are sure, such have the sympathy of every resident in the locality.

                                                                                                           THE WATER SUBSIDING.

There was no perceptible diminuition in the quantity of water flooding houses and streets until Wednesday morning, when grips were cut to run water into the moat. Much in the meantime has been emptied. Since then there has been a gradual subsidence at the rate of about three inches per day. The area covered has not diminished except in the town, but the depth of water has been reduced'.

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2012, 17:12:03 »
                                                                                                'PERILOUS CONDITION OF THE TOWN.

When the tide receded, Colonel Thompson Commanding Royal Engineer, and his staff, made an inspection of the sea walls to ascertain the extent of the damage. The result was truly appalling, and it was plainly evident that energetic measures were necessary for the safety of the town. There was not a moment's hesitation on the part of the officials. Admiral Sir Henry F. Nicholson, Commander-in-Chief at the Nore, at once gave instructions for every assistance to be rendered by the officers and men stationed at the School of Gunnery, and Colonel Griffiths, R.A. gave similar instructions with regard to the troops. The first to leave the garrison were the sappers and miners (Royal Engineers) with picks and shovels and barrows, and these were detailed for work on the West-Minster Wall, which had been honeycombed by the action of the waves, large gaps being made in the wall, even when the surface was uninjured. Sand bags are usually regarded as the most effective temporary means of repairing sea walls, but as there was no sand available without transporting it from the beach other means had to be resorted to. Captain J.C. Burnall, Superintendent of the Dockyard, was consulted, and gave orders for any material that was required to be issued from the Government stores.

                                                                                                         A SCENE OF DESOLATION.

Words cannot adequately describe the scene of desolation, which was revealed to the eye when daylight broke on Tuesday. It was not until then that the full extent of the calamity from which Sheerness and the Isle of Sheppey had suffered was realized. Viewed from the battered West-Minster Wall, there seemed nothing but water. The town appeared as if it had been transported to the shores of a lake. The expanse of water extended from the Swale to Sheerness Dockyard Railway Station, from Scrap's Gate to West-Minster, and from West-Minster rigth into the heart of Mile Town and Marine Town. In some places it was 3ft. deep. The walls were in a most ruinous condition, and the slope opposite Bird Cage Walk was strewn with wreckage. Further along, the bank was studded with the carcases of sheep, which had been drowned on Dead Man's Island in the Medway, and had been washed across by the tide, while a number of sheep grazing on the other side of the enbankment had also perished.
Sheerness in the space of a few hours had been given quite a Venetian aspect. On Tuesday morning boats were to be seen in several streets taking people to and from their dwellings.

                                                                                                          LOSSES BY THE FLOOD.

It is impossible to estimate the extent of the damage caused by the flood, but it cannot amount to less than many thousand pounds. The town, we fear, has received a blow from which it will not readily recover, while private individuals have suffered considerably. Three fourths, at least, of the houses have been flooded. Of course, it is impossible to enumerate every individual who has suffered loss. Every one who has had their residence flooded must have suffered in the destruction of furniture. The tradesmen in the High Street of Mile Town as far as Edward Street practically escaped, but many of those beyond had their premises flooded.

Mr Bean, of Harty, is reported to have lost 400 sheep, and one of the men in his employ, who was attempting to save the stock, had a narroe escape of losing his life. Mr E. Thompson, of Queenborough, who hires grazing ground at Harty, happened to be on his land at the time, and when he saw the Swale break though its natural boundaries, took such prompt measure for the safety of his stock that he has suffered no loss.
The losses at Elmley are very serious, Mr Goodban, we hear, has lost ten bullocks and a hundred sheep, while Mr Brise has also lost heavily in live stock.

                                                                                                        FATALITY AT ELMLEY.

Until Wednesday we were hopeful that the flood had been unattended with loss of human life, but unhappily that day brought the intelligence that Mr W. Sage had perished in the disaster. Mr Sage is well known at Sheerness, having for many years tenanted Water Lane Farm, Eastchurch, which he was compelled to relinquish through losses in farming. He has since resided at Elmley, working for one of the graziers in that isolated island, which has been visted with a succession of calamities during the past few months. Mr Sage, with others, was in a flat-bottomed boat trying to save some cattle. One or two of the animals did not keep the route it was desired to drive them, and Mr Sage, according to a report which reaches us, stepped out of the boat to assist in getting them together when he unfortunately walked into a ditch and perished before assistance could be rendered him.'

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2012, 23:15:49 »
                                                                                                                          MILE TOWN.

'The flood in Mile Town is to be attributed to the inroads of the sea between the Toll-House and West-Minster. After flooding the intervening marshes and the ditches which intersect them the water flowed to the back streets of the town inundating the residences of hundreds of persons living in the locality situate on the western side of the High Street. Russell Street has suffered most, the thoroughfare being inundated from end to end, the header paving near Mr Sam's establishment preventing it from flowing into the High Street. The water flowed though the Castle Passage and Prince Albert Street to Acorn Street and Berridge, Cavour, and Alma Roads, whose residents have been great sufferers from the disaster.
Broad Street was flooded to a considerable depth near the Economical Society's premises, and the business of the Society has been greatly hampered by the deluge. Hope Street is evidently on a higher level than Russell Street, for the flood did not extend much beyond the Wesleyan Chapel, the water turning into South Street. Residences in Rose Street were also inundated, those situate at the lower end having at least 2ft. of water in them. Park Farm, occupied by Mr Bardo, is under water, and both Mr Wright and Mr Bardo had to make great exertions to save their live stock from perishing.
The portion of Mile Town most affected was Maple Street, whose residents have had an experience which they will never forget. The water swept across the marshes to Maple Street like a rushing torret, causing great alarm to the inhabitants whose residences were flooded in some cases to a depth of more than a foot. This section of the locality has been almost isolated from the rest of the town by the disaster, being only approached on Tuesday by wading through at least 2ft. of water. Victoria Street and St George's Terrace were also affected, there being a considable depth of water between Brunswick House and Castle Inn, where there is evidently a dip in the road.
Banks Terrace suffered severely from the inundation.
The United Land Company's Estate was also affected, Meyrick Road (with the exception of the residence of Mr W. T. Rule, which is lower than the other houses), being the only thoroughfare on the "new ground" entirely escaping the effects of the visitation. In some houses in Alma Road the dwellings were inundated to a depth of eighteen inches or two feet. Strode Crescent, and Trinity, Winstanley, and Newcomen Roads were flooded from end to end. Ranelagh Road with the exception of about fifty yards at the Broadway entrance, was also under water. Alma Road was covered from the Cavour Road end to the entrance to Ranelagh Road, while in Berridge Road the water flowed past the entrance to Alma Road Passage. The back portions of one side of Berridge Road were affected much nearer to the Cheyney Rock Road end, the water finding its way nearly to the top of the passage between Berridge and Invicta Road, the residents of the latter thoroughfare also experiencing the ill effects of the flood.

                                                                                                             DAMAGE TO THE ESPLANADE.

The overflow of water along the Lower Esplanade was of a comparatively slight charcter. The Recreation Ground, which is often flooded when tides of less height visit it, was only submerged in a few places, the same as it generally is after a heavy downpour of rain. The water came over between the Catholic School and Redan House, flooding the Broadway in the vicinity, and running down Alma Road into Fonblanque Road.
The upper Esplanade was not so fortunate, from Neptune Terrace to Cheyney Rock the waves rolled over in one uninterrupted course. The points, however, at which the forces of the seas seemed principally to converge were opposite Commerce House and opposite the Victoria Hotel. The tide came over in tons, the water rushing down Telescope Alley and Richmond Street with the strength of a torret. The inner slope of the sea-wall was damaged opposite the entrance to Richmond Street. Considering how the sea walls were demolished in other parts of the island, it may be regarded as fortunate that the defences for which the town is responsible, have escaped with comparatively slight injury.

                                                                                                        THE UPPER END OF MARINE TOWN

has suffered terribly from the invasion of the sea. Clyde Street and Unity Street have been submerged to the extent of three feet in front and even more in their back premises. The water has reached to the window sills on the ground floor, and boats have been utilized to take people to and from their houses. James Street and Alma Street suffered more or less from the inundation, and a greater portion of Alma Road was flooded to a dept of 2ft.

                                                                                                                  NEPTUNE TERRACE.

This terrace has suffered more than any property in the town from the inroads of the sea in the past. Since the erection of the breakwater and the heightening of the wall at the rear some fourteen or fifteen years ago, it has however, enjoyed an immunity from the inundations such as visited it in January, 1881, and in the following year. It has been assumed that the defences erected for the protection of the property would be strong enough to withstand any tide that might visit our shores, but on Monday afternoon this confidence proved futile. Most of the houses and streets were flooded from the rear, but Neptune Terrace was inundated direct from the sea. As early as noon, when the tide had four hours to flow, the waves were rolling with great force on the breakwater, the spray being carried over the gardens in the rear. As the tide advanced the position of affairs became more critical, and eventually a huge breach was made in the breakwater opposite the Catholic School, while the upper portion of the wall at the rear was also carried away. The devasting effects of this disaster were at once apparent. The sea poured in with an uninterrupted course, and before long the rooms on the basement were flooded. Furniture was soon floating about the rooms in great confusion-a truly pitiable sight. In one house a new piano could be seen bumping against the ceiling. The inhabitants were compelled to seek shelter in the upper rooms, and some of them temporarily left their flooded premises. A crowd of persons assembled in the vicinity of the terrace, watching the effects of the storm, little dreaming that their own dwellings were being rapidly inundated by the advancing torret from the harbour.

                                                                                                         DAMAGE TO CHEYNEY ROCK COAL PIER.

The Sheerness Co-operative Society has been heavily "hit" by the storm. Their coal brig, the Adolphe and Laura, was berthed alongside the pier ready for unloading a cargo of coal when the storm burst. The angry waves forced the vessel against the pier with great force, and when the tide was at its height the stern of the brig settled on the top of the lower end of the pier. Damage to both brig and pier was inevitable, the after part of the vessel being stove in. The pier was damaged throughout its whole length, and some idea of the great force of the billows may be gathered from the fact that a huge pile was forced out of the bed of the sea and washed on the flat of the pier.'

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2012, 22:40:59 »
The great storm and flood of Monday 29th November 1897.
Taken from Sheerness Times and General Advertiser Saturday, December 4, 1897.
The piece in the paper is very long, I have cut it down to about 1/3.

                                                                                                               GREAT DISASTER.

                                                                                                  SHEERNESS AND ISLE OF SHEPPEY FLOODED

'The first appearance of the storm was on Sunday, when there was a stiff south westerly breeze. The clouds at times had a wild appearance, but it was not until the hours of night advanced that there was any indications of a serious tempest. The storm burst in its fury in the early hours of Monday morning, by which time the wind had veered to the north, and continued with tremendous force for at least twelve hours. The first serious accident was the destruction of one of the chimney stacks at the Britannia hotel. This was swept down by the tempest just before six o'clock, and although resulting in considerable damage to the hotel, it was fortunately unattended with loss of life or limb. A lady who was staying at the hotel, had a very narrow escape. She was sleeping in the room nearest to the chimney stack, the bulk of which fell on the party wall between her room and an adjoining room. A tremendous gap was made in the roof, and the contents of the untenanted room were completely destroyed.
Slates were blown off houses in all parts of the town, but happily this was chiefly in the small hours of the morning, when there were few people about. We have not heard of a single person receiving injury from this source of danger.

                                                                                                               THE FLOODING OF THE TOWN.

The direct damage from the hurricane was small in comparison with what occurred from the flood which followed the afternoon's tide. Signs of an abnormal tide were visible in the Medway for at least four hours before high water. The morning tide scarcely left the harbour, the gale forcing it back, while at the same time it was driving the incoming tide at a higher level than the natural rise. The effect was apparent soon after one o'clock, when the sea dashed over the sea wall between the Toll House and West-Minster. An hour later the tide literally rolled over the embankment. The sight at this time was one of awful grandeur, the ships in the harbour rocked to and fro on the white crested waves, which were almost overwhelming the then intact pier.  
The overflow at half-past two was general between Sheerness and West-Minster, and it was soon after this that the sea wall gave way, and water poured through in considerable volume, flooding the West-Minster Road and the railway line. The 2.25 train from the Mile Town Station was compelled to draw up opposite the slaughterhouse, while an examination was made by the engine driver, and, after a brief delay, it was decided to proceed. It was not found practicable, on account of the inrush of water to use the "turn-table" in the station, and the engine had to back the train to Queenborough. The 2.20 train from Sittingbourne was in Queenborough waiting to proceed to Sheerness, and started immediately the rails were clear. The train arrived at the Mile Town station about ten minutes to three and was the last train to pass over the line before the traffic was completely blocked.
The first breach in the sea wall occurred opposite the entrance to Bird Cage Walk, The water poured in torrents over the roadway on to the Naval Recreation Ground, rushing along the ditches and soon covering the entire surface of the fields. The damage to the wall soon extended in the direction of West-Minster, and some time before high water the sea had an uninterrupted flow on to the adjacent lands, whence it was carried along the entrance of Hope, Russell, Rose, and Maple Streets, finally flooding the greater portion of the town.Several hundred seamen of the School of Gunnery were at drill on the Naval Recreation Ground, and when the "winter parade" became flooded, the officer in charge gave orders for their return to barracks. The men went off at the "double" before the advancing flood, and finding their usual route via the West-Minster Road impassable, they returned by way of Hope Street, and not too soon, for the drill battery and ajoining ground were soon submerged. On returning to their barracks they found the area and basement completely under water, and at once were employed in removing stores to a place of safety.

Partial destruction of Sheerness pier see http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=13558.0

                                                                                                            FLOODING OF THE DOCKYARD.

Extracordinary scenes were witnessed in the dockyard, which was submerged in the vicinity of the river front. The overflow was chiefly at the lower end between the gun wharf and the Captain-Superintendent's offices. The waves rolled into the lower camber, causing the tide to rise above the gates at the entrances to Nos. 4 and 5 docks (fortunately empty) like a veritable cascade. The minds of the officials were greatly relived to know that the cruiser Pomene was off the slip, and safely berthed in the steam basin. The water entered the boat-house and rushed round to the storehouses. The block of buildings known as the Captain's offices was completely cut off from the rest of the yard, and officials who desired to go to other parts of the dockyard were carried on the backs of workmen, who had to wade through water several inches in dept to deposit them on dry land. The water found its way through the gratings into the areas of the storehouses.
The Naval Barracks also suffered from the overflow. There could not have been less than 5ft. or 6ft. of water in the basement and areas. The hammocks stored in the basement were brought up by staff and temporarily placed in waggons outside the establishment. Water also found its way into the quadrangle.
The Metropolitan Police fire-engines, under the direction of Chief Inspector W. Smith, were speedily on the scene, and pumping was commenced from the area long before high water. There was an extensive overflow into the steam basin, and gangs of men stood by the various vessels to render any assistance should the war vessels be in any danger, but thankfully their services were not required. The officials were very anxious respecting the cruiser Raccoon, which was lying in no 3. dock with her Kingston valves out, but happily the basin did not overflow its sides, and consequently no. 3 dock escaped flooding. The water in the mast pond rose to the level of the wall-a sight which has seldom, if ever been witnessed before.

                                                                                                               INUNDATION OF BLUETOWN

Blue Town was the first locality to suffer from the inundation. The sea poured over the sea wall near the mortuary, and the lower parts of Blue Town were soon flooded. The residence of Mr H. B. Stanford, station master, was the first to suffer, at least 3ft. of water finding its way into the premises. The police station was flooded, and the water outside St. Paul's Church was at least 2ft. in depth. Fortunately, it did not enter the church. The flood approached so rapidly that there was barely sufficient time for the head teachers in the Blue Town Board Schools to disperse their scholars before Chapel Strreet was flooded. As it was, some of the younger ones had to be carried out by the teachers. The Rev. D. Reakes, vicar,assisted by the Rev. S. J. Clements, was speedily on the scene, assisting his poor parishioners who were in need of help, conveying them in vehicles to a place of safety. In Chapel Street the depth of water was sufficient to admit of a boat being rowed to several houses to remove the occupants. Union Street and King's Head Alley were also flooded. A couple of ducks disporting themselves on the water gave the once notorious "cockle swamp" something of the appearance of an ornamental lake.
High Street escaped the overflow, but the lower part of West Street suffered, the water being fully two feet in depth in front of the Fountain Hotel. School Lane, Bethel Passage, West Street Passage, and several other localities also experienced the ill effects of the inundation, which not only flooded the streets, but entered the houses of scores of residents in this portion of the town. After all is done and said Blue Town has suffered less from this calamity than any other section of the town, for by Tuesday morning most of the thoroughfares were clear of water only residents whose houses were situated very low having much to complain of. Cellars, of course, were filled, and in the course of the day some of thses were pumped out by a fire engine.'  



Offline Paul

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #35 on: March 02, 2012, 11:22:52 »
Royal Engineers blowing a gap in the sea wall (near Kingsferry bridge?)to let the flood water out 1953.

Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Offline afsrochester

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2012, 21:03:16 »
"Operation Deluge"-The weather caused the first major incident to be managed by Kent in 1953 when on 31st January, just before midnight, gale force winds and an abnormally high tide (9ft above predicted level) breached the sea walls and river defences in numerous places along the Kent coast between Belvedere and Sandwich, wreaking havoc across the Hoo penisular, the Isle of Sheppey, the Faversham, Whitstable and Herne Bay regions and the land between Reculver and Birchington.

THE TIDE RUSHING THROUGH THE SWALE, DROWNED THE IWADE LOCALITY ON THE SHEPPEY SIDE AND EFFECTIVELY CUT OFF THE ISLAND FROM MAINLAND KENT. The Medway Towns, Gravesend, Dartford and Erith all suffered from the floods, Erith and Dartford being inundated.

Millions of Gallons of water flooded the countryside and the Brigade was continuously engaged in pumping operations until 2nd March. The brigade literally called all hands to the pumps and men of all ranks worked round the clock to clear the water, ably assisted by Retained and Auxiliary firemen as the normal daily workload of 25-30 calls stood at 82 at 0800hrs on 1st February. It should not be forgotten the administrative support staff volunteered to work similar hours.

With the Isle of Sheppey totally isolated, its firemen concerntrated on their own patch, where the situation was hampered by a total electricity supply failure and where drinking water had been contaminated by by the sea water. On 2nd February 5 pumps with their crews were loaded onto barges, which also carried much needed food supplies and petrol, left Chatham to reinforce the men at Sheerness where they remained for nearly a week. It was not until 10th February that the island was accessible to normal road traffic. The outstanding work of the Brigade in Sheerness was praised at all levels and, as a result, an award was made of the BEM to Station Officer LG Wickham in recognition of his and his crews' work.

Source; 50 Vigiliant Years. The History of Kent Fire Brigade

Alan

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Re: Sheppey floods
« Reply #33 on: October 29, 2011, 20:37:47 »
Photo 9 is Alma road from the junction with Cavour road,photo 16 i think was taken from the seawall, because the windmill is to the left of the water tower, and photo 4 is Maple street.

 

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