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Days Gone By - Tragedy as pensioner and teenager killed in flood waters

PUBLISHED: 11:55 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:21 22 January 2019

A lorry carrying pedestrians through the floodwater in Princes Street, Ipswich. The Marsh Tavern, at the corner of Chalon Street, is in the background. Picture: David Kindred’s archive.

A lorry carrying pedestrians through the floodwater in Princes Street, Ipswich. The Marsh Tavern, at the corner of Chalon Street, is in the background. Picture: David Kindred's archive.

Dave Kindred

Eighty years ago this week tragedy hit Suffolk as low-lyingparts of Ipswich, including Princes Street, Bridge Street and Portman Road, were flooded.

Torrential rain fell, starting on the morning of January 26, 1939. The rain fell onto melting snow, which had fallen over Christmas.

By the following morning millions of gallons of water flooded the Gipping Valley. In Ipswich the low lying areas of the town were flooded.

It was just before 4pm on Thursday, January 27 when the river overflowed its banks, flooding the area around Princes Street.

Homes and businesses were under several feet of water. Houses in Princes Street had water almost to the top of the stairs.

Bridge Street, Ipswich, looking towards Stoke Bridge with College Street off to the left. This picture was taken as the flood water receded. The curved wall on the left is still there. Picture: David Kindred’s archive.
Bridge Street, Ipswich, looking towards Stoke Bridge with College Street off to the left. This picture was taken as the flood water receded. The curved wall on the left is still there. Picture: David Kindred’s archive.

One family had only moved in on the Monday and were trapped upstairs for two nights without food or heating. They never returned to their home after the rescue.

At Bramford, the bridge over the River Gipping was washed away by the force of the water, cutting the main gas and water pipes. Children and staff at the village school were marooned by 4ft of water.

In other parts of Suffolk the flooding brought tragedy. At Martlesham 85-year-old Emma Robinson was found dead in her flooded home and at Otley 19-year-old Beryl Last died in Gibraltar Road while trying to cycle to work.

Was your family affected by the 1939 flood? Send us an email.



















































































































































































































































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