Interview with Thomas Bell and Daniel Goswell, 5 March 2009
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Level: Sub-Fonds
Oral History Recordings
Level: Sub-Series
Memories Exchange interviews
Scope and Content:
Interview with Thomas Bell [TB] and Danny Goswell [DG] about their experiences of the 1953 flood in Harwich.

[Track 1:] [TB] Had gone to Regal Cinema the night before; wind strong on his way home to Birch Avenue; woken up early the next morning by DG throwing stones at his window to get him up (1 minute 29 seconds).
[Track 2:] [DG] Had been to dance at Cliff Pavilion night before; on the way home went to the sailing club and saw water starting to lift boats; water had filled up between platforms at Dovercourt railway station; saw trickle of water running down gutter at the back of Victoria Street; went home to Tollgate (now Ramsey Road North) (2 minutes 52 seconds).
[Track 3:] [DG] Got up early in the morning to check on boats; roads deserted; woke up TB and went to sailing club [Patrick Wharf?]; description of boat (2 minutes 20 seconds).
[Track 4:] [TB and DG] Saw railway lines lifted by the water; Leonard ‘Pummie’ Rose was organising rescue efforts; he commandeered them to rescue people from Bathside with a boat that was waiting at Fernlea Road (1 minute 57 seconds).
[Track 5:] [DG] Fernlea Road completely flooded; story of dropping ladder in the water and diving in to get it; schoolteacher Miss Prosser dried him off in her house on Alexandra Road (3 minutes 8 seconds).
[Track 6:] [TB] Carried on rescuing people from houses on Bathside; by then crew from [HMS] Ganges had arrived (1 minute 12 seconds).
[Track 7:] [DG] Ended up in White Hart pub [George Street], full of people who had evacuated their houses; Salvation Army working in the Drill Hall; [TB] admiration for Salvation Army (1 minute 36 seconds).
[Track 8:] [DG and TB] That evening borrowed a dinghy tied up outside the police station; rowed to the Spread Eagle pub [West Street]; spent some time in pub; then rowed back and returned boat (3 minutes 21 seconds).
[Track 9:] [DG and TB] Bathside remained flooded for weeks; pumping station in Fernlea Road got flooded; efforts to pump out the water (1 minute 15 seconds).
[Track 10:] [DG and TB] Local characters in the sailing club and Harwich generally (1 minute 34 seconds).
[Track 11:] [TB and DG] Stories of tables laid; rose on water but came back to rest intact when water receded; debris seen throughout rescue efforts, including coffins and animals (3 minutes 29 seconds).
[Track 12:] Work of Pummie Rose: chased up Army, organised efforts; chaos of the night; but everyone pulled together (1 minute 59 seconds).
Dates of Creation:
5 March 2009
26 minutes 19 seconds
Creator Name:
David Whittle
Admin History:
Thomas Daniel Bell was born circa 1935. Daniel Goswell was born circa 1936. They both grew up in Harwich.
Copyright of interviewees transferred to Harwich Society; copyright of recording transferred to ESVA but contact Harwich Society prior to use for broadcasting on radio, television, or non-ERO website.
Physical Characteristics:
Digital MP3 files converted from original wma recording.
Originals Location:
Harwich Society
Publication Notes:
Hilda Grieve, "The Great Tide: The Story of the 1953 Flood Disaster in Essex" (Essex County Council, 1959)
Not Available:
Essex Sound and Video Archive: use digital copy available on Soundcloud

Key terms

TypeKey termsDescription
Subjects Floods Interview with Thomas Bell and Daniel Goswell
Personal Names Daniel
Interview with Thomas Bell and Daniel Goswell
Personal Names Leonard 'Pummie'
Interview with Thomas Bell and Daniel Goswell
Personal Names Thomas Daniel
Interview with Thomas Bell and Daniel Goswell
Document Types Sound recording Interview with Thomas Bell and Daniel Goswell