In the early hours of Sunday 1st February, 1953 a month short of her 65th birthday, Flo, who slept on the ground floor, allegedly woke to find her face “inches from the ceiling”. She stepped out of bed and found herself in water. Somehow she got herself out of the room, into the hall and to the bottom of the stairs from where she called her daughter. Said daughter slept “like the dead” but the seven year-old grandson heard her calling and woke his mother. Flo was brought upstairs, dried and put into a clean nightdress. Soon after, there was a knock on the window: outside were two firemen in a rowing boat, come to their rescue.
Flo refused to get into the boat. “I’ve got no drawers on” and remained adamant until her daughter equipped her with a pair of her husband’s Y-fronts. Only then did she allow herself to be steadied into the rowing boat and taken, along the flooded street to a temporary place of safety. The houses were condemned as ‘unfit for habitation’ and none of the families were allowed to return for more than a twelvemonth.
Monday location: a flooded street