This photograph shows the corner of Nevada Road and Stanley Road. You can see where the sea wall has been breached at the top of the picture. The inner wall in the foreground held firm and this caused the large number of deaths in the Newlands area.
My mother, Joan Hutchins and her parents, Harry and Olive Hutchins, lived at 4 Nevada Road. This is the brick bungalow at the bottom left of the photo. My mother woke to the sound of wind and found water rushing through the building. She got out of bed and stepped into water. She called her parents and they got up, but the water was rising very quickly. They could not reach the trap door to the attic, so climbed onto the kitchen table.
My grandfather reached for his carving knives, which were in the drawer of the kitchen table. He had worked as a butcher on ocean liners, so the knives were probably stronger than would have been in the average household, He managed to cut a hole in the ceiling above the kitchen table where they stood and they helped each other into the safety of the attic.
They remained in the attic all night. They were still wearing their bedclothes and had bare, wet feet. When they heard voices outside, they shouted for help. An RNLI volunteer was rowing a small boat through the area and heard them shout. There were no windows in the attic, so he broke some of the slates off the roof in order to create a hole through which to rescue them. The photo shows a small black square in the roof of the bungalow where the hole was made.
They were taken to the emergency centre that had been set up in King John’s School in Benfleet, Most of their neighbours had not survived. The people in the black bargeboard house opposite were Mr and Mrs Flight. They were both disabled and could not climb to safety. They had an upstairs room, but it was accessed via an outside staircase. Their names appear on the flood memorials.