In 1953, a flood devastated Canvey Island. There are many reasons for it, but it’s mostly summed up in this text from www.newshopper.co.uk:
”It began with a deep depression of enormous intensity which had moved from Iceland in a south-easterly direction on January 30, 1953, forcing a tremendous volume of Atlantic water into the North Sea.
In addition, there was a full moon and a spring tide which raised the sea 10ft higher than normal.
Just after midnight on February 1, water began to pour over the top of sea walls into the giant oil refinery on the Isle of Grain.
Within minutes, the archaic defence system collapsed and huge waves swept inland, swirling up the Medway estuary.
Within hours, industries all along the banks of the two river estuaries had been thrown out of production.
Gasworks, power stations and factories suffered immense damage and the consequences to both arable and dairy farms were calamitous.
From Woolwich to North Foreland, the storm winds generated a wave action so immense whole beaches were destroyed and swept away.
The water surged around the Littlebrook power station, cutting it off from the mainland.
At North Reach, water poured into Joseph Wells fireworks factory and generated explosions so ferocious windows were blasted out in Dartford.
The people of Kent, in the darkness of their homes, had no idea of the horrors unfolding a few miles across the water at Canvey Island.
Between 12.30am and 2am the islanders were fighting for their lives and only those who had taken refuge in attic lofts and on the roofs of their houses were out of danger.
Within 15 minutes of the sea wall being breached the water was above windowsill level and gushing down streets with astonishing ferocity.
Canvey Island’s death toll that night was 58”
I once encountered an old man at a bus stop about 4 years ago, who had lived through the Canvey flood. he told me in the most blunt of words that the community spirit they had then didn’t exist anymore. I thought he was probably right and went about my day, probably mixing some sarcastic comments with buying pointless things and winding people up.
Fast forward to now, and although not as severe (or maybe as severe but not causing as much damage due to all of the precautions put in place after 1953) the floods last night were still serious and must of been quite scary for the vulnerable.
So how did Canvey pull together as a community?
Here’s a few examples:
In the grand scheme of things I’d be pretty worried about my giant spotty goldfish as well. I mean, even though I havent checked on my elderly relatives, I MUST know that my fish are ok.
I mean, how on earth are creatures that live under water supposed to survive this flood?
Looking glam. In 2014 Essex, survival of yourself and your loved ones is ALWAYS second best to looking glam. Trust me if you ever go on a family meal to Sugar Hut you’ll understand.
Get the canoe out. That canoe Dad bought at that boot sale once because he said it would ‘come in handy’ that started the blazing row that ended up with him sleeping on the sofa, that canoe the kids take the piss out of every time they go in the garage is FINALLY being used. You GO Dad, you were right all along.
Take a selfie. Because what could possibly be more important in a flood than risking your uninsured against water damaged phone to let EVERYONE know you were cool enough to go out in the flood.