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The June Deluge Of 1903

July 13, 2015
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By Paul Homewood 


Yesterday I mentioned the monster deluge that hit London in June 1903. Wanstead Meteo, who keeps track of weather history in that part of the world, wrote this post last year, which offers some fascinating insights: 




It was the summer when the ‘sea’ came to Redbridge.  A record-breaking 59-hour deluge in the middle of June 1903 left vast swaths of the borough inundated. But this was no thundery downpour. All across London and the South East record rainfall rates and totals were set, many of which still stand 111 years later.

According to one local historian the fields between Wanstead Park and Ilford – as far as Uphall Road – were like an open sea and the railway track at Seven Kings resembled a shallow river.

The Friday, June 19th edition of the Essex County Chronicle abounds with other tales of woe from the floods…

Barking and District: In the large area of low-lying ground between Lea Bridge, Ilford, Barking, and East Ham, houses stood in a great inland sea, which was washing over the garden fences and lapping at the lower windows. Upstairs the occupants could be seen moving about or gazing hopelessly out at the dreary waste of black waters. Boats from Barking Creek were rowing about with supplies of milk and bread, and those who wished were taken away. All along the Barking Road from East Ham scenes almost identical were witnessed, but, happily with the end of the rain, the water did not retain its level long. Past Barking and on to Rainham the roads on Tuesday were quite impassable, much of the heavy traffic which goes through Rainham towards Barking having to turn back.


The author of this postcard wrote the following:
“Just sending you a few postcards to let you see what a plight we have been in Ilford. This view is the River Roding from the bridge. This was a large green field now it is like a large river but glad to say it has subsided a little of course. You will have read it in the papers I have sent you.”


Images of the flooding were captured by Watson Hornby, an amateur photographer and artist, who traded at 7 Cranbrook Road, Ilford. This terrace of houses in Wanstead Park Road, which backs on to the River Roding, were also flooded out. The postcard was written on July 1st, 1903


The floodwaters between Wanstead Park and Ilford were described as a vast inland sea


This history has particular interest for me because I grew up in this part of the world, on the edge of Wanstead Flats, though not, I might add, in 1903!



The full post is well worth a read here.

  1. Bloke down the pub permalink
    July 13, 2015 11:32 am

    Without cagw to take the blame, what sinners were targeted for having caused this flood?

  2. Patsy Lacey permalink
    July 13, 2015 11:36 am

    Dear PaulMany congratulations on your hard work in respect of the Heathrow Met fiasco. It appeared on Page 9 of the Daily Telegraph the arch bastion of the establishment. Also on Page 7 Steve Hilton seems to recognise that the tide is changing away from climate change and is recommending more subtle marketing. As he is the PM’s former director of strategy (aka marketing manager) this is an approach which needs careful monitoring.As you know, on the Isle of Wight we are struggling against an unholy coalition of the IOW Council and a dodgy entrepreneurial firm (Perpetuus Energy) who are set on building a white elephant in the form of a tidal energy centre on what is arguably one of the UK’s most scenic spots. We cannot attract the attention of the media. However you might like to know that the Advertising Standards Authority asked the sister company of Perpetuus Energy to substantiate its claims that it was the “world’s number 1 supplier and manufacturer of surface based graphenes and carbo nanon tubes. Since it is a £ multi million industry based in China, and this firm Perpetuus Advanced Materials (PAM) has no registered Assets or Accounts, they quickly withdrew it. The two main officers, the MD and Company Secretary have 10 of these companies between them. Attached is my precis of their latest venture and the involvement of IOW officials. Like the Swansea Bay project, the whole thing gives off an unpleasant odour!RegardsPatsy Lacey


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