BGS hit by tidal surge – official report from the school

This is a transcription of the official report from the school on the flood of 5 December 2013.

BGS Hit by Tidal Surge

On Thursday 5th December 2013, Boston suffered one of its worst floods in living memory, as a tidal surge inundated swathes of the east coast of England. In stormy conditions, the River Witham experienced a huge surge in volume as water pushed inland up the Haven, before eventually overtopping at the Grammar School. Fortunately, sufficient advanced warning had allowed th
e School to evacuate and remove some valuables from low levels, but the storm surge was enough to cause significant problems.

At 7.30 pm, river water flowed through the site at high speed, travelling through the South End gates and flooding the Beast Yard to a depth of two feet. The main thrust of the river than carried on through the archway by the Library and across the car park to the Main Hall, before flooding the lower end of the school and running down Rowley Road.

With a second tidal surge predicted for 8.30 am on Friday 6th December, and Haven Bridge closed, it was several hours before we could access the buildings to begin the recovery process. By that time,
the tide had receded and left us with a partially waterlogged site. The tarmac at South End illustrated the force of the water on entering the site, while tide marks on the doors confirmed the height of the flood.

The Science Block, being nearest the river, would have been the first building to flood. Fortunately, as can be seen, the water had travelled at speed and had brought only a minimal amount of silt with it.

Both the new and old blocks had flooded on the ground floor. Next affected was the large Sixth Form
Private Study Room in the Dr Len Medlock Sixth Form Centre.

The water had lapped up and into the front of the Sixth Form Block itself, despite two concrete steps between the doors and ground level. However, most distressing was the damage to our listed Library building, which was next in line.

Inside the Library, parquet blocks had lifted and floated away, with the water stripping the varnish from those still in situ. The river was very much in evidence in the Museum, where valuables had been lifted the previous day.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the school, the Art and Music Block and the Sports Hall were under standing water. Outside, the hard standing and field resembled a lake.

And so the work began to push water out of the building. With a handful of volunteer staff and Sixth Form students arriving to help, we began the clean-up operation within an hour of the passing of the second tide… and that operation will take some time.

For details of the clean-up and recovery operation underway at BGS, keep following

A brief addition has been made to the previous article High tide – the aftermath in order to clarify the President’s Appeal that has been started to help the school recover as quickly as possible from the effects of the flood.

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