Friday, April 26, 2024

The 1931 floods and the history of Winchelsea Beach

This is an interesting little video. Winchelsea Beach, where we had a family caravan holiday when I was seven, is a small resort that has developed on land that was reclaimed as the sea retreated.

Winchelsea, which was once a major port, now finds itself a couple of miles inland, but the sea used to lap at the foot of the cliffs on which it stands. It is Winchelsea Beach that stands by the sea and is at risk from its moods.

I suspect these floods in 1931 inspired the plot of Malcolm Saville's third Lone Pine story, The Gay Dolphin Adventure, which was published in 1945.

You will see at least one old railway carriage in the video, which makes me think that Winchelsea Beach may have begun less as a holiday resort than as plotlands of the sort which Jonathan Meades led me to at Bewdley.

A post on English Buildings suggests I was right.


Tom Burnham said...

I had the Penguin edition of "Storm Ahead" by Monica Edwards when I was young. I'd assumed it was mainly inspired by the 1953 floods, but perhaps this was also an inspiration? The books are set in the village of Westling, a fictional version of Rye Harbour.

Jonathan Calder said...

Yes, Monica Edwards is the other great children's writer on Rye. I don't know if the 1953 swell reached round to the Channel coast - Saville's book on them was set in Suffolk.