Floods in Alphington
There was a sudden flooding of the Alphin Brook on the 2nd July 1760. More than 20 houses, barns and fields of corn were washed away, over £1000 worth of damage was caused.
During another flood on the 20th October 1875 several other houses were washed away.
In April 1877 100 sheep owned by Mr William Hawkin and 35 belonging to Mr Robert White were drowned during a flood.
Alphington flooded early one Christmas morning in the early 1920s and the cob cottages in Church Road close to the Alphin Brook were badly affected. While one of the occupiers of one of these cottages was trying to sweep out the water and mud from his home a gentleman reveller, rather the worst for drink, came splashing through the water in Church Road singing loudly 'Rescue the Perishing'. The occupier of the cottage was so incensed by both the singer and the song that he rushed out from his home and put a well-aimed fist onto the singer's nose. The singer landed in the flood water!
The summer of 1960 had been particularly dry with little or no rainfall and the Alphin Brook was covered in green algae. A severe flood took place on the 22nd October 1960 and all the lower parts of Alphington were affected. Many people had to be rescued from their flooded homes by boat. Neighbours either took them in or they went to stay with relatives until the floods subsided. The church paid for coal for residents to dry out their homes. One gentleman in Mandrake Road had 4ft of water in his front room. Several cottages just off Clapperbrook Lane were destroyed. During the days after this flood villagers were seen collecting their cherished possessions from the roads and fields tnat had been washed out of their homes by the flood waters.
It was reported on the 25th January 1966 for the third time that winter Alphington homes were threatened by floods. During the afternoon of the 25th the Alphin Brook was 5ft above its normal level. It was only a couple of weeks ago that residents had to take up carpets and move furniture in case their homes flooded. Fortunately, it stopped raining just in time and the brook went down.
Memories of the floods in 1960
One gentleman remembers helping Sargent Dean to retrieve debris of a section of his wooden chicken house which had been carried by the Alphin Brook flood waters near his house, The Rosary, to the Alphington Playing Fields. Unfortunately many of the chickens had drowned. The flood waters from the Alphin Brook in this area went under an arch of the old railway bank into the Mandrake Road area, across Mill Lane and into the playing fields. The arch was used by farm traffic going from Oak Marsh Farm to the field that was there before Mandrake Road and houses were built. The arch was destroyed when the Alphington Spur was constructed.
A gentleman remembers when he was a young lad collecting essential items from Cross View stores for the elderly who were stranded in their homes due to the floods. He handed over the purchases through windows while standing thigh deep in bright red flood water Everyone was very grateful except one elderly gentleman whose main concern was that the lad was standing on his wall flowers.
Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick