Floods make national news

Alfred Webb, of 5 Prospect Street, Horncastle, rescued by policemen and ambulancemen. Prospect Street was badly hit and Webb's bungalow was badly flooded.
Alfred Webb, of 5 Prospect Street, Horncastle, rescued by policemen and ambulancemen. Prospect Street was badly hit and Webb's bungalow was badly flooded.

This week we take a look back at the history of Horncastle’s floods with stories from the April 1981 editions. We also look at how the town’s floods made the front pages of national newspapers in October 1960.

l ‘BRIDGES broken, fire engines abandoned’ read the front page of the Daily Mail on October 8, 1960. The paper reports how emergency floodlights lit a “fantastic scene”, along with a four hour timeline of how quickly the water rose in Horncastle to a level of 8ft.

l CARS vanished. According to the Daily Mail two fire engines were marooned and abandoned, and three cars were swept into the river as a result of the flood.

l ‘FLOOD Town Peril’ was the Daily Mirror’s front page on the same day. A week after floods hit Exmouth, Devon, the Mirror reports how “flood fury came to Horncastle.”

l A man slipped on a tow-path and was grabbed by a policeman as the yellow-coloured river threatened to swallow him up. “That is the nearest we have had to a fatality,” said a policeman.

l ON April 30, 1981 the Horncastle News reported on the third flood since the turn of the century and led with a dramatic picture of the rescue of Alfred Webb. Webb lived at 5 Prospect Street and was severely handicapped. He was pictured being carried on a stretcher by police and ambulancemen.

l AN eight page supplement was included in the paper with images of Horncastle during the flood. Streets pictured included Prospect Street, Bridge Street and West Street, as well as photos from Wragby, Coningsby and Tattershall.

l ‘A painful reminder of what can happen every 10 to 20 years.’ A warning from the supplement which highlighted that Horncastle was next door to being an island, with North Street being the only exit from the town which could be made without crossing a bridge.

l BILL Cupit, Mayor of Horncastle, wrote a letter in the paper which thanked the numerous organisations who gave “considerable help” to those affected by flooding. Cupit said it would be difficult to pick out individuals since everyone worked as a team with excellent results.

l ANDY Anderson called in at the office to say: “Do you realise that shortly after Horncastle has had a new Vicar there has been a flood?” He was almost right, there was Rev. Moore in 1900, Rev. Poole in 1920, Rev. Davies in 1960 and Rev. Neale in 1981.

l NUMBERS out of work in the town took a turn for the worse in March 1981, rising by four to 303. A total of 9.7% were out of work - a figure slightly better than the county average.

l ELECTION campaigns were well underway for the Lincolnshire County Council Elections in May 1981, with many parties and individuals advertising themselves in the paper.