The Hall Boy’s Journal – The Great Flood, Nov 1935

[The weather was appalling for the first three weeks of November in 1935. According to The Times, during the first 17 days of the month, the south of England had experienced twice the amount of rain normally expected in the whole of November. As a result the ground was saturated and many counties suffered from great floods. Hall Boy, John Mayhew, describes a very wet November at Ickworth House, Suffolk.]

November 18, 1935

Rain, Rain, Rain

It has been raining constantly for two weeks now! The basement gets ever so dark, but at least we have electric lights to get us through. At home Ma and Pa are relying on candles.

Of course the weather has not put off the shoot. It actually makes it easier for us beaters. The birds cower in the bushes and scrub, away from the rain, and get startled so easily. Only the best shots are hitting them though. The store rooms for game in the house should be twice as full as they are now – at least, that is what Jim told me.


November 23, 1935

The Great Flood

The Estate flooded today. Not all of it, of course. That would surely require the construction of some kind of Noah’s Ark!

It was the porter’s lodge that got hit worse worst of all. Poor Mr and Mrs Smythe had to move all their worldly possessions to the upstairs room. The water just kept coming in. It was running like a stream from the main house, down the hill, and gathered to form a pond with the porter’s lodge right in the middle of it. Most of the house staff were busy keeping the room in the west corridor of the Rotunda from flooding – that room always leaks something terrible. I helped the gardeners and gamekeepers at the lodge though. We were all armed with brooms and developed quite a routine between us sweeping water out of the house, and preventing it from flowing straight back in agayn from outside.

The problem was, it just kept on raining! The heaviest I have seen in a long time. God, I hope Ma and Pa are alright. I’ve not known the shop to flood, but then I’ve not known such rain! I will make an effort to see them at the weekend in case they need a helping hand. Ma has been on at me about it – I haven’t been home since Pa’s fit.

Anyway – we managed to stem the flow by placing sandbags and logs in the doorways. I cannot see how the Smythes can live there now though. It will be ever so damp! Lord Bristol will have to get another place on the Estate for them to live – though I bet it will be Mr Prosser (the Estate Manager) who will sort it all out.

What a day! I am soaked through. All the warm water was used by the others and I have only a blanket or two left in the cupboard. I think when all else have gone to bed I will sneak in the servant’s hall and make the most of the embers in the grate.


Here is a photograph of the flooding in Kent. I cut it out of The Times once everyone had done with the newspaper and thought I would paste it in here. Our floods warn’t quite this bad, but what a month of weather!

this week 3


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