Fire & Flood

High Street Blaze

Two dozen firemen with four appliances fought a fierce blaze which did severe damage to three Rye business premises on Thursday, 21st September.

First indications of the fire were noticed when the shop area of Johnson’s Self-Service Store in the High Street filled with thick black smoke just after 1.00 p.m. The shop’s staff managed to get the cash tills out on to the pavement.

The Rye fire service were quickly on the scene followed shortly by firemen from Broad Oak and Hastings. The fire fighters were severely handi­capped in the early stages by smoke, and breathing apparatus had to be used. The fire spead from the basement of the supermarket up a partition wall between the store and the adjoining Monastery Guest House into the roof.

Fire at Johnson's Store

It was two hours before the conflagration was brought under control. Much damage was done in the basement of the store, in the upper floor of the Guest House and the roofs of the store and an adjoining Ladies Hair Dressers. Part of the High Street was closed to traffic throughout the afternoon and police reversed the one way system in Market Road to allow access to the western end.

That night, while firemen continued dampening down, Mr. Button, the owner of the store, assisted by his manager, Mr. Norman Gill, his staff and many other willing helpers took on the job of clearing out the shop and arranging for the intake of fresh stock. It was business as usual the following morning for the Supermarket and the Ladies Hairdressers but damage to the Guest House belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Howe, forced them to close down for the rest of the season. Guests were found alternative accommodation for the rest of their stay in Rye.

Fire, smoke and water damage to the three premises will amount to several thousand pounds.

Severe Flooding Caused by High Tide

Severe flooding was caused in and around the town at mid-day on 5th October when an exceptionally high tide overflowed the banks of the Rother and Tillingham at several places.

Strand Sluice Overflows

A spectacular waterfall, started at the Strand Lockgate when the level of water overflowed the lock, continuing for almost an hour.

Many cars were stranded in a foot of water in the car park behind the Ship Inn, and the newly constructed section of the A259 at the Strand was flooded for a 100 yard stretch.

An eye witness at Scott’s Float reported that the lock there completely disappeared at one time under the level of the water.

Ferry Cottage, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson at Rock Channel, was flooded out by several inches of water and Bedding Supplies, in the same area, called in the fire service to pump out their flooded premises.

The water level reached its height many inches above the forecast 14’8”.

There are two more really big tides expected this year early in November, but their forecast level of 14’6” does not constitute a problem unless other conditions swell the volume of water for that period.

“Rye’s Own” November 1967