Saturday, May 31, 2008

1968 in South London (4): Lewisham Floods

Photo by David Wright showing the flooding on Bromley Road, Catford, outside the Robertson Jam Factory. The latter closed in 1970 with the loss of 350 jobs.
Probably the biggest event in Lewisham in 1968 was not related to global political movements but to the weather. In September 1968 there was flooding across the South East of England, with the Lewisham area badly hit: ‘Hundreds of families were… trapped in their homes in Lewisham, South London, which was one of the parts worst affected. All the families could do was to shore up their doors with planks, chairs, and carpets as the water swept into their homes. The worst affected part of Lewisham was the High Street. The River Quaggy, normally only 6 inches deep, rose in some places to 15ft. In Carthorn Street the water rose to 4ft. Traffic was halted as it stretched from Catford to New Cross. Extra police were called to filter some of the traffic through side roads’ (Times, 17 September 1968).

Bromley Road facing towards Catford in 1968.
Photo by David Wright on Flickr (he has a couple of other flood photos there)


[last updated with additional pictures 28 December 2013]

11 comments:

Sue Luxton said...

I've seen a great photo of Ladywell Station during those floods - it looked like a canal, you couldn't even see the railway lines. I think they were Ladywell Society photos, but they could have been on display at the library, can't remember now. And there's the ones of people in a rowing boat on Lewisham High Street too.

Transpontine said...

Somebody I worked with said that his dad has some super 8 footage of this, would be great to digitise some of the films people must have lying around in their cupboard of local scenes.

Anonymous said...

I can remember Ladywell Park looking like a lake.

Anonymous said...

I remember going downstairs in our house and seeing the frigde floating in the hallway,

Anonymous said...

I remember it well - seeing a dustcart being used to ferry people across the deeply flooded road by Ladywell Station; and all those poor people in nearby streets with various soaked belongings draped over hedges etc. Many were crying, God bless 'em. And yes, I saw that picture of people in a rowing boat in the middle of the high street.

Andy said...

I've just been through Ladywell Fields and seen half a dozen decent sized chub and several rats in the river.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember it flooding in Lee Green/Burnt Ash Road? I'm hoping to buy a flat there and the Environmental Search results look scary for flooding, but my mum's lived in the area for over 20 years and has never seen floods there. Grateful for any information!

DMH said...

I'm trying to find a long lost relative who worked at Catford Bus Station 1968-69.
Any ideas how I go about it?
thanks

Transpontine said...

Hi DMH, the only place I know that has records about people who used to work for London Transport is the TfL Historical Archives.

They don't have loads of personnel information, but apparently they do have staff registers with name, badge number, work location and work start date. Good luck with your search.

DMH said...

thank you! Will give it a go

Anonymous said...

Yes burnt ash road did flood badly in 1968. our basement flat had so much water in us children were moved upstairs. the cat and kittens were floating around on our wardrobe, and the fire engine that was pumping our flat got stuck in the mud in the front garden. I believe the engine came as far as kennisington to help. sure my dad has photos somewhere. we were moved out to deptford where i grew up because of the damage to our place.