Film commemorates 70th anniversary of 1953 floods

Written on 28/01/2023

*Copied directly from East Suffolk Gov*

A film has been produced to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1953 floods, while also reflecting on the 2013 East Coast tidal surge and future challenges.

The devastating North Sea flood of 1953 caused catastrophic damage and loss of life in Scotland, England, Belgium and The Netherlands. It became one of the worst peacetime disasters of 20th century. In England alone 307 people lost their lives, many of those on the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex coast.

The failure of any preventative measures meant that many people, children and adults alike, went to bed on that fateful night of 31 January 1953 not knowing of the devastation to come.

Coastal Partnership East, in partnership with the Anglian (Eastern) Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, is supporting schools, parishes, communities and others to remember those sadly lost, and those affected by the floods of 1953, by providing a film that includes memories of those who were there in 1953, stories from those who have captured memories of those no longer with us and reflections of those who remember family members affected by the floods.

The film, entitled A Surge of Memories, also includes reflections from some of those impacted by the 2013 East Coast tidal surge and takes a look at future challenges.

Richard Powell, Chair of the Anglian (Eastern) Regional Flood and Coastal Committee said:

“We know that on and around 31 January 2023 many communities and organisations will come together to commemorate not only those who lost their lives but also those for whom the events of that night continue to live on in their memories 70 years later.

“The flood caused a major rethinking of coastal defences, weather forecasting and warning systems. Our film also takes the time to reflect upon the East Coast tidal surge of December 2013, the largest flood event since 1953, and captures memories and stories from those impacted upon by those floods, as well as those involved in providing a response.”

The film finishes with reflections on the challenges of the future and the impacts of a changing climate, increased storminess and rising sea-levels on our coastal communities.

Karen Thomas, Head of Coastal Partnership East said:

“It is important that we remember the events of 1953 and of 2013, those that were affected and the lessons that we learnt from such devastating times.

“Today,we are facing the challenges of a changing climate, rising sea-levels and increased storminess. Our coast is one of the fastest eroding coasts in north-western Europe and the next five years are crucial in creating the tools needed to help vulnerable communities on our coast to develop, adapt and be sustainable for generations to come.”

Richard Powell added:

“On this 70th anniversary of the Great Floods of 1953, we hope that the film will help more people to learn about the stories of people along our Norfolk and Suffolk coast, some sadly no longer with us. We would like this film to be their voice so that they will be heard and remembered.”

The film is available to view on the Coastal Partnership East website.