October 1949 Flood
At high tide, about 1 p.m. on Sunday 23rd October 1949, the sea broke over the promenade at Carlisle Parade and torrents of water cascaded down to the Memorial At the same time. flood water resulting from the heavy rain coming through the Priory Stream and other tributaries inundated Station Road, Middle Street, Priory Street and South Terrace.
Many people were trapped as the water rose three to four feet and had to wade knee deep to escape. In some cases women and girls were carried shoulder high across the flooded streets by fishermen and others wearing sea boots. Water poured into the cellars of the G.I. Hotel, and across the road customers in the Clarence Hotel were marooned when the building became an island.
Everywhere in the locality basements and cellars were flooded, in total over a quarter of a year's expected rainfall had fallen in October and winds were recorded as gusting up to sixty miles-per-hour.
As the Transport Club in Middle-street was cut off, bus drivers and conductors had to mount a ladder to enter a window of the upstairs restaurant to get their midday meal
On Sunday morning it was again shifted by the rough seas and carried to Warrior Square after passing through the two sections of the ruined St Leonards Pier, and bumping along the lower promenade by the Sun Lounge, causing some damage.
Mr. John Burton, the Pier manager, watched, with an Observer reporter, the heavy seas after midnight on Sunday move the section several times, but it finally lodged itself in the fine shale of the beach.
On Monday morning workmen arrived and cut holes in the tanks with oxy-acetylene cutters to prevent it from re-floating.
References & Notes
- British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 29 October 1949 Pg. 0001