The Man Who Predicted 1953 Floods

From the Standard Recorder 1976

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In reply to a previous article published in the paper E.M.Cockle wrote the following:-

In reply to Back­ground to the News (Castle Point edition, October 6), I certainly can recall Woods the bakers in Canvey Vil­lage, because it was the winter meeting place for all the village boys.

Here one could obtain a hot drink for a halfpenny from Mrs. Wood, together with sweets of all kinds from one farthing upwards. The most popular hot drink was blackcurrant. This togeth­er with a sticky bun was a feast indeed.

The summer meeting place, of course, was the pumpshed, which was an admirable home base for the many games of release played there. The word bakers always had to be attached to distinguish from the grocer shop and post of­fice next door, which was also owned by a Mr. Wood, but of no relationship.

On the opposite side of the road was Canvey’s first butchers, run by the late Mr. Charlie Beckwith, who often recalled the Canvey flood of 1895.

I remember he came into my shop on Friday, January 30, 1953, and told me that the weather conditions were the same as those which resulted in the 1895 flood and unless the wind changed direction we could be flooded again. Thirty-six hours afterwards his prophecy became only too true.

Another favourite meeting place was at the blacksmiths next door to the Red Cow. This was owned by the late Mr. “Harry” Bateman. Many hours were spent watching the horses being shod and cart wheels being re-rimmed. My dog had a particular lik­ing for the parings from the horses’ hooves, these being eaten with relish.

Looking back over the years, I think one of the greatest tragedies was the wanton destruction of the vil­lage pump, its thatched-roof shed, and the horse trough ad­joining, it being a very beauti­ful landmark and I know will always be remembered by old Islanders no matter where they wander. —

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