65 Photos Spanning Two Centuries Of Flooding In Britain

Flooding has always been part of British life. From damsels in distress being rescued in bicycle baskets, to Brits playing tennis in waterlogged courts - we look at photographs of floods as far back as 1877.

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January 1926. Two women crossing a flooded road near Staines, Middlesex, by means of a makeshift raft and a pole.

ID: 2436130
Reg Speller/Fox Photos / Getty

30th November 1946. Boy carrying his pet dog who wouldn’t get his feet wet on the flooded road at Datchet.

ID: 2435893
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15th July 1937. Flooded streets in Chadwell Heath after a sudden cloudburst over Essex and East London.

ID: 2435877
Harrison/Topical Press Agency / Getty

14th March 1947. Firemen carrying inhabitants away from a flooded house in Clapton, east London after the River Lea broke its banks.

ID: 2435891
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March 1947. A policeman uses a telephone from a boat in a flooded street in Bath.

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Norman Smith/Fox Photos / Getty

25th January 1937. Two men monitoring the river flow at the Old Passingford Bridge Mill at Stapleford Tawney when severe floods in Essex transformed the River Roding into a rushing torrent.

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Terry Fincher/Keystone/Hulton Archive / Getty

17th January 1955. A woman is carried down the street by a helpful gentleman after a severe flood in Tonbridge, Kent. The flooding was caused by a sudden thaw of snow.

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14th October 1936. Old Carmarthen Bridge being demolished several years after severe flood damage rendered it unsafe. It will be replaced by a new bridge.

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19th March 1947. A huge area around Ely, Cambridgeshire under water after particularly severe flooding.

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3rd August 1939. A soldier strips to his underwear while digging a channel to help drain flood water.

ID: 2435880
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13th August 1937. Traffic moves through flood waters in a Knightsbridge street.

ID: 2435883
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4th December 1935. A baker delivers bread near Langport during the floods in Somerset where many roads were covered with two feet of water or more.

ID: 2435884
Topical Press Agency / Getty

March 1947. Firemen rescue inhabitants in Clapton, London, after the thaw from heavy snowfalls caused the river Lea to overflow its banks, flooding many houses and driving the occupiers into upstairs rooms.

ID: 2435886
Topical Press Agency / Getty

1937. A small boy floating in a bucket over his flooded garden in Essex.

ID: 2435887
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16th January 1935: Children pause for reflection in a flooded meadow near Langport, Somerset.

ID: 2436034
Topical Press Agency / Getty

13th March 1947: Policemen in a rowing boat rescue inhabitants of Spring Lane, Clapton, London, where flood waters have reached alarming heights after the River Lea burst its banks.

ID: 2435892
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1st February 1936: A man cycling along a flooded road at Harrold, Bedfordshire.

ID: 2435894
George W. Hales/Fox Photos / Getty

17th June 1936: A man trying to negotiate his way through flooded Theobald’s Road, London, caused by a burst water main.

ID: 2435896
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7th December 1935: Two young girls using a wash tub as a boat during the floods at Langport, Somerset, which have prevented them from getting to school.

ID: 2435895
Reg Speller/Fox Photos / Getty

1st January 1935: A horse comes to the assistance of a car stranded on the Carlton and Harrold Road near Bedford.

ID: 2436003
George W. Hales/Fox Photos / Getty

17th June 1936: Cars driving through flooded Theobald’s Road, London, caused by a burst water main.

ID: 2435898
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18th December 1936: A determined postman driving his motorbike through the flooded roads at Elmstone Hardwick, Gloucestershire.

ID: 2435897
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7th December 1935: Young Boy in his school uniform fishing from a gate near, Langport, Somerset.

ID: 2435899
Harrison/Topical Press Agency / Getty

19th March 1947: WVS women assisted by the army deliver emergency supplies in flooded Maidenhead.

ID: 2435900
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3rd December 1954: A sign saying ‘Private No Parking’ rises out of floodwater and provides a handy resting place for empty milk bottles being collected by milkman Bill Turner at Old Windsor, Buckinghamshire.

ID: 2435902
Douglas Miller/Keystone / Getty

9th February 1946: A farmhouse at Shooklach, near Chester, flooded by the river Dee.

ID: 2435903
J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency / Getty

August 1939: A pedestrian attempts to leap across a flooded road near Hyde Park in London.

ID: 2435904
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December 1938: Children waving to each other in a flooded field in Heyford, Oxfordshire.

ID: 2435905
H. F. Davis / Getty

A man crossing a stretch of floodwater with the help of two chairs after a storm caused flooding in the Mall, London.

ID: 2435997
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5th November 1934: Village stores at Upton Grey in Hampshire reflected in the local pond which is getting back to its normal levels after recent rains.

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Reg Speller/Fox Photos / Getty

27th February 1933: A cyclist lifts up his legs to avoid the splashing as he pedals down a flooded lane in the Thames Valley.

ID: 2436000
Fox Photos / Getty

5th January 1933: A baker by his caravan during floods in Wick in Somerset.

ID: 2436001
Martin/Fox Photos / Getty

3rd January 1935: A mother towing her children to school at Burrowbridge near Bridgewater during severe flooding.

ID: 2436002
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4th June 1932: A man travels on an improvised raft during floods in Arksey, Yorkshire.

ID: 2436005
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circa 1930: Two women punt down a flooded British street, with their bull in tow.

ID: 2436006
Topical Press Agency / Getty

circa 1935: Two men crawling along a ladder, over a flooded street, after heavy rains caused flooding in Kent.

ID: 2436008
Topical Press Agency / Getty

circa 1935: A motorist being rescued by canoe after his car was caught in severe floods in Kent.

ID: 2436009
ID: 2436010
Fox Photos / Getty

28th February 1933: A delivery boy gives a lift in his basket to a lady in distress in a flooded street in Bath.

ID: 2436012
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December 1929: A man helping another across the flood on Chertsey road.

ID: 2436015
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December 1929: Floods in Somerset, a locomotive at a flooded station.

ID: 2436016
Ron Bell/Fox Photos / Getty

28th February 1933: Residents of flooded Goring on Thames, Oxfordshire, going shopping.

ID: 2436018
Reg Speller/Fox Photos / Getty

28th February 1933: A couple crossing a flooded road at Twyford with their pram.

ID: 2436019
Arthur Tanner/Fox Photos / Getty

2nd January 1935: An errand boy reaching for his submerging bicycle at Eton, Berkshire.

ID: 2436020
E. Phillips/Fox Photos / Getty

4th September 1934: Man walking along flooded single railway track near Braithwaite.

ID: 2436022
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16th May 1932: Bampton village flooded, villagers helping each other to evacuate.

ID: 2436025
E. Dean/Topical Press Agency / Getty

4th October 1935: A milkman pushes his milk-float through a flooded street in Edmonton, London after torrential rain disrupted traffic.

ID: 2436026
J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency / Getty

25th October 1932: Schoolboys walking along a fence to avoid a flooded road on their way to school in Pulborough, Sussex.

ID: 2436027
A. R. Coster/Topical Press Agency / Getty

8th August 1918: An open topped bus crosses a flooded road on an outing given by Mr Weinthal for convalescent colonials from Richmond Hospital.

ID: 2436112
John Thomson/Hulton Archive / Getty

circa 1877: Impoverished people in front of a rag shop in Lambeth, London, where the Thames annual tidal overflow causes hardship to the locals. ‘Sufferers From The Floods’, a photographic plate from ‘Street Life In London’ by Smith and Thomson

ID: 2436113
Fox Photos / Getty

circa 1926: A man using his bicycle to deliver supplies to a young flood victim in Shepperton.

ID: 2436116
Central Press / Getty

circa 1928: A section of the moat at the Tower of London under water during the London flood

ID: 2436117
Fox Photos / Getty

1926: A group of children sitting on a park bench which has been flooded by the Thames at Windsor.

ID: 2436121
Topical Press Agency / Getty

1928: Men rescuing residents in Rotherhithe, south London, from a flood caused by the Thames breaking its banks.

ID: 2436125
Topical Press Agency / Getty

1928: A man rescuing a mother and child during flooding in Rotherhithe, south London, caused by the Thames bursting its banks.

ID: 2436126
Topical Press Agency / Getty

January 1928: A group of men balancing on a fence at Lea Bridge Road, Essex, during a 4 foot flood.

ID: 2436127
Fox Photos / Getty

November 1926: A grocers boy giving a lift to a young damsel in distress during floods at Shepperton, near London.

ID: 2436128
Fox Photos / Getty

January 1928: A crowd queuing for a lorry to take them across the flooded Lea Bridge Road in the aftermath of the Thames valley flooding in 1928.

ID: 2436129
Fox Photos / Getty

January 1928: Residents survey collapsed outhouses in their back yards after the Thames flooded in 1928.

ID: 2436131
Fox Photos / Getty

January 1928: A street in London after the Thames flooded. The water is nearly up to the windowsills on the ground floors and men are using doors as rafts.

ID: 2436133
Fox Photos / Getty

1926: Boy feeding a family of swans at Windsor, Berkshire.

ID: 2436134
H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency / Getty

17th September 1927: Competitors wading through the courts after a tennis tournament was flooded out at Woodford, Essex.

ID: 2436136
H. F. Davis/Topical Press Agency / Getty

4th January 1928: A main line train splashes along a flooded track at Temple Mills, Stratford, East London.

ID: 2436137
Topical Press Agency / Getty

31st August 1912: Families in Norwich moving household goods after floods made their homes uninhabitable.

ID: 2436138
Fox Photos / Getty

January 1928: A mobile PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) clinic attends to animal flood victims in London. (The Thames flooded in January 1928). A sign says ‘Animals Treated Free. Flood Victims Collected’.

ID: 2436274

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Matt Tucker is the UK picture editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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