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Rare Photos Of Guildford’s Floods In January 1928

Published on: 26 Dec, 2020
Updated on: 24 Dec, 2020

By David Rose

There was a white Christmas in Guildford in 1927. But the snow soon thawed and by the new year the River Way had burst its banks and flooded the town at the foot of the High Street.

Crowds gather to look at the floodwater that has spread into the High Street with Friary Street also flooded away to the left. Some of the debris looks like timber from Moon’s timber yard, where Debenhams store is today. Click on all pictures to enlarge in a new window. 

These photos belong to Vivien Smith who emailed copies to me earlier this year. They are in an album that had belonged to her late uncle.

Friary Street, viewed from High Street. Note the ladder leaning again the building on the right, perhaps used to rescue people?

There had indeed been a deep fall of snow. On the Hog’s Back it was 15 feet deep in places, while in Guildford town centre it laid to a depth of about one foot.

On New Year’s Day 1928, there was a slight rise in temperature, followed by heavy rain the next day.

Jackson’s garage and Clark’s music shop are seen here on the south side of the High Street, a short way up from the Town Bridge. Millbrook cuts through here today.

On January 3, the floods came, and these photos were most likely to have been taken on that day or the day after.

This photo appears to have been taken behind Jackson’s garage, now approximately Millbrook and opposite Debenhams.

And also the same location with this photo. What’s he got in his boat?

Many photos are already known of these 1928 floods – some having been published in several of my books. These here afford some similar views while others here are quite different.

It looks like this picture was taken at about the same place as the two above.

Of course, 1928 wasn’t the first time since the age of photography that Guildford’s floods had been recorded.

Looking down onto the High Street, this photo was possibly taken from the first floor of Clark’s music shop or an adjacent building.

For posterity and recording history, there are pictures of floods in 1900, 1910, 1925, 1936, 1968, 2000 and 2013-14.

Photographed from a boat? This view looks towards the Town Bridge.

From the Town Bridge, looking upstream with Moon’s timber yard on the left. The sign on the right is for wicker basket makers F. Cobbett.

This picture, taken from Moon’s timber yard and looking downstream, gives a glimpse of the Town Bridge. Today the White House pub stands where the buildings are on the left. Part of St Nicolas Church can be seen top left. In the distance is part of Crooke’s brewery, now the car park next to the George Abbot pub.

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test One Response to Rare Photos Of Guildford’s Floods In January 1928

  1. Mark Cobbett Reply

    December 26, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    See link to pic, looks like same flood.

    David Rose adds: it certainly is, it’s one of a series of known postcards issued of the 1928 floods. I have published several others in various books of mine.

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