It seemed a rather odd situation this afternoon (Sunday) to be having to water the garden again under more or less cloudless skies and in bright, warm sunshine when 50 years ago today, flood water started pouring across my garden and then through the house, reaching a depth of several feet. This was long before I lived here, I might add. The South East England floods of September 1968 seem to have passed without comment but were catastrophic for the town of Molesey where I live as well as places such as Guildford and Tonbridge. Most roads here were flooded with water depths appraently reaching 6-8 feet locally. A slow-moving but re-invigorating frontal system moved backwards and forwards over South East England over the 14th and 15th Sept. The Medway and Mole catchments to the south of london were worst hit, the waters in the Mole overtopping the river and forming a huge lake between Esher, Hersham and Molesey - but coming in Molesey's direction. Local rainfall was not that exceptional (just under 25mm on the 14th, 55mm on the 15th) but it reached 175-200mm over the two days from mid Surrey, west Kent and through to southernmost Essex. This was not flash flooding - the waters rose slowly and this seems to highlight a lack of emergency planning and preparedness, though many householders were used to flooding and responded accordingly.
Some members of this ng may remember or know of the event. It is certainly remembered by older members of the Molesey community. The 40th anniversary was commemorated by a meeting and an exhibition by the Molesey Local History Society, a meeting that was responsible for getting the society off the ground so successfully. The meeting was hugely oversubscribed. A 50th anniversary meeting is planned with over 200 people expected to turn out on a dark November evening. A further meeting on the aftermath is to be held next year, including the Mole flood prevention scheme. The response is truly impressive and the impact of the flooding is still remembered vividly.