60 Acres

Emailed in by Pam Goodchild

I do not know if my memories will be of interest to you. My Dad’s parents Thomas Augustin Heal and Edith Florence Heal lived on Canvey Island on somewhere called Sixty Acres.

One of my earliest memories is of a policeman turning up at our house in Walthamstow, East London to tell my Dad that his parents were missing in the flood. I was only 4 at the time so most of what I now remember is hearsay.

Dad contacted his younger brother who also lived in Walthamstow and they (I presume) got a train to Benfleet. I remember Dad telling me that the bridge to the Island had been washed away and that someone rowed them across in a small boat.

I don’t really know what they found but I have always been told that Nan and Granddad were in water for over 24 hours. Apparently they were taken to separate hospitals and they each didn’t know if the other had survived, they were both in their 70’s then.

As far as I know the only part of their home that survived was the chimney stack, the council re-housed them in Thameside Crescent where they lived till Nan died in 1960 and Grandad died in 1961, by which time they were both over 80.

I always wished that I had asked my Dad more in later life, he has been dead now for over 30 years. Nan and Grandad are both buried in the graveyard of what is now the Heritage Centre.

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