Thursday, February 19
‘Drowned in a sea of salt’ Blake Morrison on the literature of the east coast
‘The most abandoned spot in the entire region’ WG Sebald visited Shingle Street in Suffolk
"Sixty-two years ago today, the combination of a severe storm and high spring tide brought catastrophe to the east coast of England, as the water rose to six metres above sea level and overwhelmed the land. The Dutch had it even worse, with the loss of 1,800 lives – they called it the Watersnoodramp, the 'flood disaster'. But Suffolk and Essex suffered badly, too, with 307 deaths in all, including 38 at Felixstowe, 37 in Jaywick, and 58 on Canvey Island. A couple of documentaries appeared around the time of the 60th anniversary of the flood but compared with the commemoration of the 2004 Asian tsunami the coverage was modest. There wasn’t the footage; the only survivors with memories of the event were past pension age, and the loss of life was on a smaller scale. But perhaps another factor explains the neglect: resignation to the idea that the North Sea is destined to wreak havoc periodically and that nothing can be done to prevent it."
2011 July: The Rings of Saturn - W.G. Sebald