Throwback Thursday: Drying Out The Library After The 1968 Flood

Hever Castle Throwback Thursday
September 19 2019 | Castle History

Hever Castle Throwback Thursday

This photograph dates to 1968 and shows the castle’s library being dried out after the devastating 1968 flood that poured into approximately one hundred rooms of the castle and Astor Wing to a depth of 4.5 feet.

On 15th September 1968 there was a storm of unprecedented severity. It began about 10.30am when the two moats on the west side of the castle overflowed with rain water from the roofs and from the slope of the main lawn. This soon spilled into the cellars. Shortly afterwards a stream of water came rushing down from the Sunday Walk area, past the outer moat and towards the private driveway.

At about midday, river water forced its way along a drain line near the private drive lifting a manhole and cascading down the coke chute to the cellars. As the river level rose overspill became inevitable, first at 3.30pm near the tennis court and later the private driveway.

The cellars and basement were soon filled up and the surface waters swept southwards to meet the Castle Forecourt and the Tudor Garden. The whole building suffered full flood by about 6pm when members of staff and residents began to be taken out by boat and life line. This continued in the dark, and by 9pm all staff and residents had been rescued. The 1968 flood caused significant damage to the Castle and today there is still a mark so visitors can see the flood level.

To find out more about Hever Castle’s interesting history, please see our archives.