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Flood 1968

The Rushden Echo, 19th July 1968, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Council Probe After Culvert Block Floods £4,000 Dream Home

Eileen Garner shows how deep the flood water had been
After the storms comes the reckoning. What happened last Wednesday is history now. To most people the freak storms were something to wonder at. For the firemen they were something to curse at.

But, for one unfortunate Rushden Family, what should have been a happy week’s holiday turned out to be little short of a nightmare. They were helpless victims of the floods which hit parts of the town. And unless drastic action is taken their £4,000 “dream home” and whole life could, once again, be shattered in a matter of hours.

Eric and Eileen Garner live, or lived, at 5 Sandringham Close, and last week they were taking a well-earned rest in Devon from their news agency business they have in Station Road.


But they returned home hastily when they heard of the destruction that the floods had caused.

Turning the clocks back to the early hours of Thursday morning, the Garners’ home and garden was a sea of water. Their neighbours – who rallied round magnificently during the crises – recalled that the water rose to about five feet leaving a path of destruction as it gushed through the house.


Four men desperately tried to open the gate between the house and garage to stop the build-up of water, and when they finally succeeded one of them was knocked helplessly into the raging torrents by a floating dustbin.

Just about every domestic appliance and necessity has been ruined.

Until Monday every spare inch of garage space was accommodating all their furniture. Now it has been taken away by the insurance company.

Mrs. Garner’s car, which had been left in the garage, was filled with water and sludge. It has been taken to a garage for a complete overhaul.

Why was the Garner’s place so badly affected?

The drainage system from Home Farm Estate and Hall Avenue discharges into a stream which runs underneath Mr. Garner’s back garden. The stream is filled with rubbish and, according to Mr. Garner; these obstructions cause a field at the back of his garden to be flooded on normal rainy days.

However, as Mr. G. D. Evelyn, the borough surveyor, pointed out it is impossible to plan for eventualities such as last Wednesday’s freak storms.

But he did say that the matter will be investigated.

The Rushden Echo, 16th August 1968, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Rushden Hit by Floods Again

Rushden residents are seriously thinking of building an ark. For on Thursday night – the second time in a month – the town was the victim of rushing mighty waters.

It seemed like the end of the world for Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Garner, of 5 Sandringham Close, Rushden. At 5 am on Friday they were up trying to salvage belongings from the rising tide of water. Outside, in the garden and garage, the water was two feet deep.

Mr. Garner had to carry his wife and their dog over to higher ground. His wife’s car and the lawnmower were both damaged.

Only a few hours earlier they had been hard at work wall-papering their home to cover up the effects of the extensive flooding a month ago.


The floods seemed to affect those worst hit during last month’s chaos. Two shops in the High Street were again flooded.

Mr. and Mrs. J. Capell, who have a haberdasher’s shop, were woken up about 6 am by the police. There was six inches of water in the cellar and three inches in the shop itself. Mr. Capell had to empty it out, bucket by bucket.

Next door the shoe repair shop was also flooded. It did not open until 10 am. Even then there were still some deep puddles at the back of the premises.

Duck Street was flooded to a depth of three feet in parts. Water also poured through the streets in the Skinner’s Hill area.

Council workmen spent Friday morning checking drains and water pipe arrangements in Sandringham Close. The urban council’s surveyor, Mr. G. D. Evelyn, was called out in the early hours.


Flooding was also reported along Bedford Road and in the surrounding villages. But there have been no reports of serious damage.

Unless the weather improves, soon, no doubt many will be considering emigrating to Ireland, reported to be having its best summer for many years.

The Rushden Echo, 4th October 1968, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Why This Secrecy Over The Flooding Investigations?

I wish somebody would let me (and by me I mean the Press, and by the Press I mean you, the public) in on the secret of Rushden Urban Council’s investigations into the July flooding and the town’s culverts and sewers.

Don’t tell me (us) that it is none of my (our) business. I personally did not experience flooding but many people in Rushden did, and surely they have the right to know what is going on.

At the July council meeting the clerk, Mr. A. G. Crowdy, prepared a confidential report on the flooding. The public was excluded from the meeting on the grounds that publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business.

The July Flooding at Abbott's

I did not see the report, obviously, so I cannot argue about the council’s decision. I can only accept it and I do.

But at last week’s meeting the public health committee reported on decisions it had taken as a result of another report which was clouded in mystery – this time from the surveyor, Mr. G. D. Evelyn.

The committee stated that a confidential report was submitted giving details of the main area of flooding, action taken to clear water courses, culverts and sewers, and to investigate the need for possible further work to prevent future occurrences.

But the thing that disturbed me most was a comment by one of the councillors, Mr. R. D. Gilhooley.

He said the surveyor’s report, to which he COULD NOT refer showed some very disturbing factors which he was sure all members appreciated.

The committee report went on to list eight points it had decided to do or not to do, presumably based on the information contained in Mr. Evelyn’s report.

From what I have heard or gathered there is no question of the finger of blame or negligence being pointed at anyone, so why all the secrecy?

Surely if council elected representatives have made decisions based on certain facts, the facts in addition to the decisions should be made known to the public.

This is not a case of making a report public before councillors have had a chance to consider it.

There are times when local authorities are perfectly entitled to use their special powers, and I would be the last one to suggest that they should not use them.

But I cannot agree that this was such a case.

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