WHEN IW historian and author, Kev Mitchell, shared some photographs given to him by his late old friend, Ted Clark ­— of Newport during the flood of 1960 ­— he was astonished with the reaction of local contributors.

“I was amazed by the response ­— by a host of memories and personal anecdotes shared by Newport residents, recounting how the flood affected ordinary town folks’ daily lives.

“I used a photographic colouring app on Ted’s black and white photos, and though generally successful, it’s given the flood water a blue tinge, much to the amusement of those who remembered the water being a dirty brown or black as it poured into their homes.”

The photographs Ted took feature the lower High Street, Barton Road and Coppins Bridge, as well as Shide, the Mall and the damage caused to the Royal Brewery buildings that backed onto Hunnyhill.

Kev worked at the brewery from 1970 as a holiday casual, and recalls the stories told by employees, of the devastation caused by the flood ten years before.

“There was some sort of cofferdam at Hunnyhill which eventually broke under the weight of the water, and a tidal wave smashed into the storage buildings, ripping down the back wall and pouring into the brewery yard.

“It spun all the lorries around, lifted the Tarmac and dropped sheets of it on them.

“Barrels and bottles were swept down the River Medina and brewery workers were sent out in skiffs to try and retrieve them.

“One drayman recalled finding a group of teenagers around a beached barrel of ale on the river bank near the Folly, falling around absolutely drunk.

“Needless to say, the barrel was empty.”

Jeff Ledicott, a friend of Kev’s, and long-time landlord at the Robin Hood pub in Barton, and the Vine Inn at St Helens, said he was living up the Mall at the time, when he was ten-years-old.

“It was October 1, 1960, and my father came into my bedroom and woke me up ­— I remember looking at the sky and seeing a strange flat cloud.

“It was like looking at the sea ­— and then it fell.

“It wasn’t like any normal downpour, it literally came down like a giant sheet of water.

“I’d never seen anything like it. In minutes, the Mall was under several feet of water.

“Then it poured down through Newport, and people were trapped in their upstairs, and in shops and pubs.”

Kev Mitchell, 67, lives in Newport with his wife, and contributes old photographs of bygone pubs and other lost Island buildings to various sites including Newport in Bygone Days, the IW Heritage Group and Flashback Ryde.

He is also the author of Newport Pubs ­— An Illustrated History, its Ryde pubs counterpart, and a short collection of stories based on the IW, entitled Little Wight Tales.