Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Floods of 1953: Hand-written letter from Southwold reveals storm horror

09:27 05 February 2013

Extracts from a letter written on February 3 1953 from someone in Southwold during the time of the floods.

Extracts from a letter written on February 3 1953 from someone in Southwold during the time of the floods.


A DRAMATIC first-hand account of the devastating 1953 floods has been made public by staff at a Suffolk brewery.


The well-preserved letter from an unknown sender had been presented to Adnams in Southwold some years ago but has now been fully transcribed for the anniversary of the storm surge that swept the coast.

A service of remembrance was held at Southwold’s St Edmunds Church last week to mark 60 years since the storm hit the town on the night of Saturday, January 31 and the morning of February 1, 1953.

Sarah Groves, online content manager for Adnams, explained that the letter came from a Ferry Road resident staying with their family at The Swan Hotel, where they had been offered a week’s free accommodation while they relocated to temporary accommodation.

Although the name of the sender is illegible, the letter, written on Swan Hotel stationery, describes in detail the aftermath of the storm. It reads: “There had been a tremendous gale for 24 hours and there was also a very high spring tide. At about 9.15pm the sea started to pour over the dune into the road and in five minutes’ time it was running like a mill-race right up to the windows of the first floor. Escape was impossible and we could only pray that the house would not collapse.

“There were six buildings on the road beyond us - at about 11 o’clock I looked out of our drawing-room window and all except a fragment of our own bungalow were gone.

“Five people were drowned. The whole road is a waste of smashed furniture, debris of houses and countless tons of sand and shingle. Our garden is completely swept away - I think it’s probable that the Ferry Road will be declared dangerous and nobody allowed to live there.

“At about 2.30am, the tide went out and some men came along with planks etc and got us out through a window. The worst night I have ever been through. Bombs were nothing to it.”

If you know anything more about the letter, or who may have sent it, call us on 01728 726535.



Andy Hazell is against adding steps into a green path next to the church in Kersey.

It is among the prettiest villages in Suffolk, its iconic centre considered one of the most beautiful views in the county.

East Anglian Air Ambulance

An air ambulance was called to a Suffolk village today after a young woman suffered a horse riding accident.

A depiction of the reality of warfare during the battle for Loos

One hundred years ago today, a major Anglo-French offensive in the Artois region of the Western Front had ground to a bloody halt.

Police were called to a break-in at a petrol station – after a suspected burglar was heard screaming for help.

The Golden Boar in Freckenham. Cyclists called 999 after the pub owners refused them tap water.

A tap water argument between pub staff and cyclists broke out in Freckenham after the group asked for a free water bottle fill-up for four.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer (left) and Mayor Glen Chisholm take part in the World Sight Day blindfold walk, organised by the Lions Club of Ipswich

Senior Ipswich figures gathered in the town centre on Saturday morning, to take part in a blindfold walk through the market.

Millicent Garrett Fawcett addressing the crowd in Hyde Park at the end of the suffragist pilgramage, July 26, 1913

With the film Suffragette out, we ask how far women have come in 100 years and what still needs to be done

Myriad by David Rickard and Germano Di Chello will grace the grounds of Snape Maltings

An exciting new contemporary sculpture will be built at Snape Maltings next year to give visitors a different way of looking at the landscape.

Avocet kneeling allowing chicks to find shelter under wing

The RSPB is celebrating a record-breaking year for its emblem bird the avocet across its nature reserves - including one of the Suffolk sites where the species made its famous British comeback almost 70 years ago.

Philip Heathcote.

The funeral of a Suffolk man gunned down in the massacre on a holiday beach in Tunisia is taking place today.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages