I recently received a letter from from Honorary Member Wally Weeks which enclosed a letter from W.Bartlett, a former Commodore of EYC, to him.

It describes how the big flood of January 1953 affected the club and is dated 1st. February 1953. It must be noted that then the seawall was about 10 feet lower, roughly the same height as the bottom of the ramp by Mullen's green gates. Fred's Yard is where Andrew Bacon's is now.

Wally sailed on Sea Bat, an ex Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter (photo left) owned by former member Ted Rickett in 1926 and many other EYC craft since then. The names E D Rickets and Sea Bat appear on Club Trophy the Hansen Cup for 1934.


Dear Wally,

We little thought, while enjoying your excellent party on Saturday night , at Erith, that the next few hours would bring such widespread trouble and damage. Indeed, beyond acknowledgement of the casual jesting remark that it was much better to be inside the "Running Horses", than out on the River that evening, no one had occasion seriously to give it further thought.

I went down to the Yacht Club and was glad to find that the "Garson" was safe in her berth, although the gangway and staging had been smashed up, and also that the "Star" boats on their high rack had fortunately just escaped.

Your own motorboat had just gone a bit further up into the reeds, but was not damaged, although it will probably need a good pull next springs to get it off.

A number of the yachts in the saltings got out of their mud berths , and are now sitting at funny angles on the top, while three or four went up the side of the (sea)wall, but we think that they can be got down again in due course with rollers and a bit of digging.

Several of the boats in Fred's Yard however fared worse, and several went over the wall into the field behind - where I am afraid they will probably stay.

I heard that it was reported that your works was flooded out and isolated, but trust that at least some of the report was exaggerated. We at East Greenwich somehow completely escaped this time - although we have had shops flooded and the drains come back on us several times within my memory.

Anyway, please accept my best thanks for a very pleasant evening on Saturday, and my best wishes to the Rowing and Sailing section of your organisation.
Yours very sincerely,


Photo taken at the Club during the flood of 1953. We believe the photograph is taken looking down the (old) sea wall towards Crayfordness. The river is shown on the left, with the lower of the old barge roads just visible. The water on the right of the picture is in the fields! The sea wall has since then been raised significantly.

© Erith Yacht Club