Floods of 1953 in Jaywick
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Scope and Content:
Short interviews recorded for the BBC by Max Robertson and N. Walker in the days following the 1953 North Sea flood. Interviewees include rescuers in Jaywick and evacuated residents of Canvey Island and Foulness Island.

[00:00:26 - 00:02:10] Harry Champion on helping with the rescue effort in Jaywick. Going from bungalow to bungalow. Rescuing animals. Not finding any survivors. Staying in his loft until he was able to get out into his boat. Family safe.

[00:02:33 - 00:05:08] Policeman and fishermen on rescuing people in Jaywick. Trying to get a woman out of her bungalow roof; paralysed from the legs down and hungry. Got her into the boat, despite the strong wind. Wanted them to save her cat; present during the recording. Said the cat kept her alive.

[00:05:51 - 00:06:58] Frank Wickes, a Clacton boatman, on helping with the rescue effort at Jaywick. Realised he could be of some help at 9am on the morning of 1 February, and came down to Grasslands; too many fences to use his motor. Called the lifeboat out and searched along the wall to Lee-Over-Sands. Picked up some people on the wall. Came back at 5.30am that morning. Mentions Mrs Kendell.

[00:06:58 - 00:07:30] Richard Harman talks about Mrs Kendell's dog, Bruno; wouldn't move from his owner. Given to RSPCA.

[00:07:35 - 00:09:10] Private Brian Gardner on diving into people's houses, in the water. Rescued a few people, but didn't ask their names. Around seven on Sunday. Another that morning, around 8am. Four more deceased. Swam through windows; the only way they could get to them. Very cold.

[00:09:25 - 00:11:30] Mrs Rudge interviewed by Bernard Braine. Talks about waking up to see the flood and initially jumping on the settee, and then on her dining room table, floating on the water. Stood up until late Sunday. Then sat down, until she was rescued on Tuesday. Didn't have anything to eat or drink. Losing consciousness, but fought against it.

[00:11:54 - 00:12:52] Mr Cotter from Canvey Island interviewed at Benfleet Reception Centre by N Barker. Describes what happened to his home; within an hour, two feet deep. At 1am, four foot deep. Tried to salvage things that morning but still 5 foot deep. Went back by boat; pulled himself along the roofs. Wife and children came out.

[00:13:25 - 00:15:11] Foulness Island, Rev. J. W. Bell interviewed by N. Barker. Describes the flood - 'water water everywhere'. Rescued in boat. A 'terrifying experience'. 'Amazing' rescuers - fortitude, cheerfulness. Mentions rabbits in the bushes. Lots of boats, two or three people in each.
Dates of Creation:
Creator Name:
BBC Essex
Custodial History:
Originally held in the BBC Archive on shellac discs, and sent to BBC Essex in 1988 to use in a documentary commemorating the 35th anniversary of the flood, ‘Time on Tide’ (SA 1/313/1).

Key terms

TypeKey termsDescription
Document Types Sound recording Floods of 1953 in Jaywick