Remembering the 1953 floods

1953 flood ~ High tide marks at St Margarets Church, King's lynn

1953 flood ~ High tide marks at St Margarets Church, King’s lynn

Memorial services are being held to mark the anniversary of the 1953 floods.

60 years ago on 31 January a combination of forceful winds, atmospheric pressure and high tides created a storm surge that was to devastate local communities. Flooding along the east coast claimed lives and destroyed property.

On Thursday at 11 am the flood memorial at North Beach, Heacham was re-dedicated and children from Heacham Junior School layed a special tribute. (story and pictures to follow)

A special service incorporating representatives from the emergency services and voluntary organisations, led by Reverend Canon Chris Ivory, will also be held at King’s Lynn Minster on Thursday at 7 pm. Borough Mayor, Cllr Geoffrey Wareham, and mayoress, Mary Wareham will both attend. The public is welcome to attend.

Borough Mayor, Cllr Geoffrey Wareham, said, “The flood had an enormous impact on our communities and tragically claimed the lives of over 80 people locally. It is both fitting and important that we remember people who lost their lives during that terrible night and celebrate the bravery of those who fought to save the lives of others and the resourcefulness of people in coping with the aftermath.”

Classic archive image showing woman carrying child along Wisbech Road during the 1953 flood.

Classic archive image showing the scene along Wisbech Road during the 1953 flood.

Robert Flute, Chairman of the Norfolk Resilience Forum, said: “The floods of 1953 and the aftermath are etched into the minds of people living in the east of England. For those who remember and those who have heard and learned about the tragic events, they serve as a reminder of the power of the elements, the bravery of individuals and the need to be prepared. It is important that anniversaries such as this are marked and communities remember.”

Nigel Dixon, Cabinet Member for Community Protection at Norfolk County Council, said: “What happened in 1953 is something Norfolk people will never forget. It may be 60 years ago but for the communities hit by those devastating floods that January and especially in those where lives were lost, the memories are all too fresh. It is right that we remember and it is right that we do our best to make sure such events cannot be repeated.”

For more information about areas at risk of flooding and to sign up to receive flood warnings, please call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or visit

For more information about preparing for an emergency please visit:


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