It was Maundy Thursday, 1998.I was working as a laboratory technician at Exploration Associates in Station House, opposite Leamington Spa railway station, at the time. Some of us who worked there used to play football at St Nicholas Park in Warwick on a Thursday night, although with it raining, some of us were not keen on it. We had played in rain before though, so we thought that we would still go along. Later on in the afternoon the organiser telephoned to book it… to be told that it would not be possible because the pitch was underwater.
Worse than expected
When we left work at five o’clock, we could see why. There were not any windows upstairs, so we did not realise how bad it was until we got outside. The traffic was unbelievable. I had to get up to Apollo Way to collect someone and then get up to Radford Semele – in total it took three hours to get home.
The flood water at the bottom of Radford Hill was nearly impassible, especially when you were only in a Rover 100! I was was never so relieved when we made it home and I was able to chuck the car keys into the key tub in the kitchen.
Impossible to get down the road
On Good Friday, I wanted to get into town. Going down the Radford Road was impossible though. Most people were getting as far as the top of Radford Hill, seeing what it was like and turning around in what was then Hawthall Whiting’s driveway. A friend of mine’s dad said that you could get into town down the Grand Union canal towpath, which you could. Trouble is when you got into town you could not get anywhere. I was able to walk up to Asda though. When I was walking back up the towpath, you could see that the flood water was starting to recede in places.
Down the White Lion pub that night and the one before, everyone had a tale to tell. It did seem to bring out the community spirit in people. By the following day, the water had vanished from the Radford Road, which was just as well as I had a 21st party in Leamington that night.
I do not remember the Radford Road being flooded that badly before or since.