Call this flooding? Pictures of Kingston and Surrey's worst floods through the years

Children played in Thames Ditton High Street in 1968

Children played in Thames Ditton High Street in 1968

First published in News
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Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter - 020 8722 6313

As floodwaters sweep across Walton and Thames Ditton, and rising river levels threaten Kingston, these images show even greater devastation from half a century ago.

When the Surrey Comet covered the immensely destructive floods of 1947 and 1968, it showed stoic residents displaying the famed British stiff upper lip – and even having a laugh at their predicament.

Surrey Comet:

Volunteers Penny Conder and Rosemary McCone help bale out a Thames Ditton bungalow in 1968

Children played in a rowing boat in Thames Ditton High Street, while Army engineers fought the torrential River Mole and volunteers helped dry out their neighbours’ houses.

Children arriving at King Athelstan Primary School in Kingston on September 16, 1968, were sent home.

Floodwater from the Hogsmill River had poured into the junior school, leaving a layer of mud in all the classrooms, and the canteen was also flooded.

Surrey Comet:

The front page of the Surrey Comet on Wednesday, March 19, 1947

In the same week, Kingston Council social and welfare workers had a busy time in the flooded parts of the town, following up reports of elderly and disabled people whose homes were affected.

Fred Dixon, 92, and wife Louise, 86, of Hawks Road, were marooned at home without gas - the only means they had of getting power or light.

A welfare officer arranged meals on wheels deliveries for the couple, the Comet reported.

Flooding had caused a water main to fracture near their house.

Surrey Comet:

Two arches of the bridge on the Cobham-Downside Road were swept away by the River Mole on Tuesday, September 17, 1968

A report in the Surrey Comet on March 19, 1947, said: “The Guildhall basement, where the Courts and court offices are situated, was flooded yesterday morning.

“The largest court was unusable and Judge E. Hancock had to find accommodation in another court.

“Most of the floors of the solicitors’ robing room and the County Court and magistrates’ court offices were water-covered.

“One of the worst-hit was the Griffin Hotel in the Market Place, where barrels of beer were floating in nearly five feet of water.”

Surrey Comet:

A shopper gets a lift in Thames Ditton, 1968

Rescue workers arrived in Molesey to evacuate 300 stranded families from the 1968 floods, and 100 families were taken from Cottimore Lane in Walton.

The worst-hit areas of Hersham were Walton Park, near the railway station, and Field Common.

Hersham trading estate was deluged, and sat under 4ft of water.

Surrey Comet:

A police van stuck at the junction of Summer Road and Hampton Court Way

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