Residents recall floods of yesteryear on major road

Oxford Mail: Abingdon Road is a sea of water during the latest floods Abingdon Road is a sea of water during the latest floods

WHEN the water level began to rise in Abingdon Road nearly three weeks ago, residents recalled the flooding in 2007.

But 93-year-old Olive Goodgame’s memory goes back much further – to a time when she saw men paddling boats up and down the busy route into Oxford.

In March 1947 the grandmother was 28 and had just moved into her house in Canning Crescent, off Abingdon Road, where she lives to this day.

And she says the flooding was a lot like that in 2012, with people trapped in their houses, shops closed and a community coming together to help each other.

“It was very deep and there were men going up and down in boats helping people,” she said.

“The water came right up to my door and flooded into houses along Abingdon Road. It was the biggest flood I’ve ever seen and much deeper than the latest one.

“And even then there were lots of shops up the road, selling cakes and all sorts of things.

“That flooding was really terrible for them, the waters came up to their doors all along the road. I have never seen a flood like it.”

But after living through the 2007 flooding, Mrs Goodgame decided enough was enough and had a flood barrier installed.

She said: “I was surprised it came up so far this time, but I was lucky to have my flood barrier.

“It came into everyone else’s gardens but not mine.

“In 1947 it came right up to my back door. It was right down Weirs Lane – it was the worst flood I’ve ever seen.

“I wish they would do something because it isn’t fair to all the people living along Abingdon Road.”

Oxford United club secretary John Shepperd, 77, said looking at pictures of the 1947 flooding filled him with nostalgia.

He said: “It’s always nice to look back at old photographs.

“And I was surprised to see the flooding again in Abingdon Road, but whenever we say it’ll never happen again, it always does.

“I don’t think things really change that much.”

Comments (1)

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4:28pm Sat 15 Dec 12

davidrnewman says...

Several people who came to the Donnington Bridge anniversary party remembered the floods, when they saw the photo of a goalkeeper paddling along the Abingdon Road.

As flood defences are put up elsewhere around Oxford, there is only the stretch in East Oxford where it can still flood into water meadows and then into people's houses. Developers who have built on flood plains in the last 50 years should pay for flood defenses, not just the current residents.
Several people who came to the Donnington Bridge anniversary party remembered the floods, when they saw the photo of a goalkeeper paddling along the Abingdon Road. As flood defences are put up elsewhere around Oxford, there is only the stretch in East Oxford where it can still flood into water meadows and then into people's houses. Developers who have built on flood plains in the last 50 years should pay for flood defenses, not just the current residents. davidrnewman

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