The floods

 We were flooded on the last day of January 1953.  The combination of a Spring tide and a windstorm caused a North Sea surge that overwhelmed sea defences in the UK and the Netherlands.  Over 300 died in the UK, plus a further 230 deaths at sea as ships foundered, including several trawlers and the ferry MV Princess Victoria which went down with 133 lives.

In Cleethorpes people began to gather nervously in their front gardens as the water poured over from the sea to fill the street, rising steadily and ominously.  We went to the kitchen at the back of the house and saw the water coming up to the back door.  Then it burst under the door, pouring into the kitchen.  It reached a depth of about 10 inches, but fortunately the kitchen was a step down from the living room.  Similarly the front door step saved us because the water came up to it but not over it.  

The kitchen was flooded, and the outside lavatory.  I worked out a way to navigate across it using two small wooden stools.  I stood on one in the water and placed the other one in front of it.  Standing on that I moved the first stool to the front, and in this way crossed the kitchen to boil a kettle for much needed tea.  We could reach the outside lavatory and use it by this method.

We moved any valuables upstairs just in case, but the next day the waters receded leaving a muddy slime coating everything they had touched.  We exchanged stories with neighbours.  One of ours had heard a loud knocking at the back door, and opened it to be greeted by a dolly wash-tub floating in on the water. 

We thanked our good fortune when we read of the calamities suffered elsewhere, and we cleaned up.  We had thought the event would dominate the year, but it was massively eclipsed by the Coronation four months later, in the excitement of which the January floods seemed like a distant memory.