Storm Event

A ‘furious gale’, but remembered most of all for the exceptionally high tide that accompanied it, said to be the highest in living memory

Severity ? 5


A violent north-westerly gale forced up the tide (MetOffice, 1897).


The tide breached the dyke in Essex and the dunes in Horsey gap (Jenson, 1953). Sea wall was breached at Deal and the 2 pm tide rolled over embankment in Sheerness and the sea wall gave way (Scoones, 2018).

Receptor and Consequence:

A very severe coastal flood event was reported over these dates, its effects were felt from Stanraer in Dumfries and Galloway, along the east coast of England to Kent. In Scotland, Cairnyan Road and 40 yards of sea wall collapsed in Stranraer (Hickey, 1997). In north Norfolk, notably in the coastal villages of Blakeney, buildings were flooded, some by several feet of water (Holford, 1976). Further south, about a third of Foulness Island was reportedly flooded (Holford, 1976) and three quarters of Sheerness. Hundreds were left homeless in Kent where the water quickly flooded houses in Whitstable up to 8 ft, leaving residents unable to retrieve possessions. Roads, railways and dockyards were flooded; piers were destroyed. In Kent alone damaged were estimated at around £60,000.  1 man lost his life in Elmley attempting to save cattle (Scoones, 2018).

Summary table:

Loss of life 1 man died trying to save cattle at Elmley. Several dead in shipwrecks
Residential property Buildings flooded several feet in north Norfolk, notably in Cley and Blakeney. Homes inundated in Ramsgate, Deal, Blue Town and Cold Harbour (Kent). Basements and cellars flooded in the Parade and Marine Drive (Kent). Housed in Whitstable were swamped, leaving hundreds homeless
Evacuation & Rescue *
Cost Estimated at £50,000 (£6.1 million) in damages to walls, buildings, roadways, sea defences. £10,000 damage to public property in Herne Bay. £200 to repair sea wall and Cairnryan Road, Stranraer
Ports Sheerness dockyard and Naval barracks were flooded
Transport Shore roads were flooded in Stranraer. Cairnryan Road collapsed by 5 ft. Railway and West-Minster Road in Sheerness was flooded, as well as roads in Mile Town and Marine Town, namely Neptune Terrace. Roads washed away in Margate
Energy *
Public services Blue Town police station flooded
Water & wastewater *
Livestock *
Agricultural land *
Coastal erosion *
Natural environment 2 miles of marsh land inundated by sea
Cultural heritage *
Coastal defences 40 yards of sea wall collapsed in Stranraer; over half the sea wall in Margate was destroyed

*No known sources of information available


  1. Met Office, (1897). November 1897. Climate Summaries. Retrieved [01/08/18] from
  2. Jensen H. A. P. (1953) Tidal Inundations, Past And Present. Weather, 8, 85-89 and 108-119.
  3. Scoones, A. (2018). Understanding Coastal Flooding in Kent, Southampton Undergraduate Thesis
  4. Hickey, K. R. (1997). Documentary records of coastal storms in Scotland, 1500-1991 A.D. Retrieved from
  5. Lamb, H. H. (1991). Historic Storms of the North Sea, British Isles and Northwest Europe. Cambridge University Press.
  6. Holford, I. (1976). British Weather Disasters. Newton Abbot: David and Charles.