Getting Home

Beach_Road_1953I knew Mr & Mrs Howell very well, they opened their Vegy shop about 1937. I went down the little steps from Cliff Hill on the night of the flood to try to get to our house on Pavilion Road. I managed to get half way down Fiskes Opening (behind the shop), but the water was up to my chest and it was bloody cold ! This was about 7.30 p.m, the full surge came a little later. I managed to get home by climbing onto the roof of what used to be the N.A.A.F.I. Bakery on Beach Road which backed on to The Harbour Hotel on Pavilion Road. I kept above the water by staying on top fo the walls & fences until I dropped down into our back yard. 30 minutes later the floodwaters burst through our front & back doors and we had 9 ft. of salt water throughout the house.


A pretty miserable time for all concerned .

I am interested in the photo of the 1953 floods taken at the botton of the White Lion Steps. I also have a photo taken at the same time but with different people in the boat. On your photo I recognise, far left Jimmy Stubbs, third from the right and nearest to the Skiff. is Dennis Garnham. Dennis and I spent a lot of time fishing in his Skiff. We didn't have an outboard, so used to row out to the North to catch plenty of Dabs, fishing over the wreck of The Radcliffe, she was a full of wheat when she hit a mine and when she burst her seams she well & truly ground baited the area !

For several years we caught fat dabs full of Wheat!

Dennis by the way left the U.K.. late in 1953 and finished up in Papua New Guinea. He has lived there ever since .


1953 Floods Pier Road Gorleston  20-11-2000Just to show you the other photo taken at the bottom of the White Lion Steps. Dennis Garnham is standing to the left of the photo in army greatcoat ,with collar turned up. On the night of the flood, I had taken Carol to the cinema to see (High Noon ), when the manager came on stage to state that he had just had a report that furniture was floating from the houses on Pier Road ! The outcome was as previously stated. I made my way through the water which was up to my chest and disappeared into the darkness, leaving Carol with a couple of our friends. 30 minutes later the power went off and everything below the cliff was plunged in darkness and being engulfed with sea water. Poor Carol thought we were all gone. At first light of day I climbed through the skylight onto the roof and waved a white sheet so that Carol then knew we were safe. Carol was at the bottom of the White lion steps, when a policeman walked up to her and asked if he could help her. Carol told him she wanted to get to us, but the policeman said ”Young lady, we are trying to get people out, not in !” She told him she how she wanted to get candles and other essentials to us, but didnt have any money with her. The constable took ten shillings from his own pocket for Carol to get what she needed.Then commandeered a rowing boat and very soon Carol was with us .We never found out who the constable was .


1953 floods Arthur on balcony Dennis in Skiff 17-11-2000I have also included a small photo taken on the day after the water had receded during the 1953 floods . Possibly 2nd February.

Arthur on the balcony receiving some hot soup, milk and bread from Dennis Garnham in his skiff.

The salt water had been close to the top of the window frames during the night.

In case you are wondering why we are still in the house situated here on Pavilion Road. My mother had fallen and broken her arm, so I was waiting for the water to drop before getting out .


005 - Pops Meadow-2This is another of Billy Browns photo´s, showing Pavilion Road and Pop´s Meadow under water.



Stradbrooke Road SchoolHere´s one for you Arthur, Stradbrooke Road School in the floods.

Did you go there ?

Yes I did attend the Stradbroke School. But have to tell you the photo is the Edward Worlledge, which is the school I attended prior to the war in Southtown.


004 - Unknown-2I believe the photo of the policeman in the dinghy is also taken in the same area, possibly close to Gordon Road

Now you point it out it does look like Southtown.

We had our first shop on the corner of Wolesley Road and Anson Road.

Whilst we were there in the 1970´s, there were many flood alerts and many a night was spent moving stock off the floor and onto high shelving.

The highlight in Southtown was when a horse and cart tried to go through our shop window, why he didn´t use the door like everyone else I don´t know, but thats horses for you.

Seeing all this water and mentioning horses has reminded me of the Electric Rays in your Australia Pages. Were they a problem during the floods Arthur, or did the authorities hush it up, so as not to cause panic. With very few horses about nobody would have known they were there, frightening. There could have been an Alfred Hitchcock follow up movie to `The Birds´ called `The Electric Rays´

A kind of net across the door would have stopped them entering the houses though, I´ll let you put a patent on such an apparatus, you could make thousands.


1953 Floods Gordon RoadThis is Gordon Road, the Southtown Road side of the Lichfield Road cross roads. Further down was Coles General Groceries. Mr Cole was a Japanese POW with my father. He lent me his dairy he kept whilst a POW to look at.



006 - Pops Meadow-2This is Billy Brown and his rowing boat, just passing Fiske´s Opening, Pops Meadow is over to the right.

His son Billy Jnr told me the boat got holed whilst his father was using it in the rescues. It had to have major repairs when the water dropped.


007 - Fiskes Opening-2This picture shows Billy Brown in his boat holding the oars. He was a member of the lifeboat crew Elizabeth Simpson before the war, during the war he served in Mine Sweepers.

I don´t think the sign is intended for Billy, he didn´t row that fast.


008 - Prefabs-2The last one of course is the Blocks on Bells Marsh Road Gorleston . As a child I watched these homes being built.The trees in the background were in Dr. Buncombes Garden . I spent some time there in 1945 doing war damage . In fact I was working there when the war in Europe ended.


My fathers family lived on Bells Marsh Road, they were bombed out during the war. All their belongings were taken to a communial warehouse on Lowestoft Road, the warehouse was later a Garage, then a Gardening Centre, it is now demolished and new houses erected.




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