Salthouse History site


Kath (née Haylock) Thomas's
experience of the 1953 flood

In 1953, my husband and I were living in a cottage next door to the post office. There was one door, round the back of our house, and the stairs immediately in front of you with just one room either side and the same upstairs. We all had ‘flu, and we stayed in the bedroom, and when the water went down we were taken to Weybourne Camp.
The flood knocked the door in and came to the top of the stairs, and when the water got to the switches, all the lights went out. We’d got some candles from Christmas, the sort you used to put on the Christmas trees, and the matches were in my pocket. But when I’d been down to rescue the cat while the water was only half-way (she was sitting on a chair across the downstairs room) I’d got soaked to the waist, and when I got back the matches were wet!
So I sat on them upstairs until they dried and we lit the little candles. Our two boys were aged four and six, and they went to sleep. My husband, he said ‘If it gets any higher, you can have Tony and I’ll take Christopher, and we’ll try and float the mattresses out of the window.’ You see, we hadn’t got a loft to get into. There was no trap door in the ceiling where we could get up into the roof. It was frightening. I don’t know how long the mattresses would have floated—I think they would have sunk. You hadn’t got time for anything, and you think of all sorts of funny things.
My husband went out as soon as the water went down, and went up to the council houses, and Mrs Gertie Dawson, that’s Primrose’s mother, made a great big bottle full of tea, and that’s what warmed me up.
I’ll never live again anywhere flat to the sea—I live on the top of a cliff now!