In November 1894 the Thames Valley experienced some of the worst flooding it had seen in the nineteenth century. Philip Frank Eliot, then Dean of Windsor, recorded his experience of the floods in a letter to his mother, dated 18 November 1894, which is preserved in St George’s Chapel Archives [SGC M.148/1]:
‘We are in a terrible plight here on account of the floods. Looking from my study window I can see the whole country for miles like a great sea with trees growing out of it. All the lower parts of the town are under water. There are whole streets where no house can be reached except in a boat. And yesterday the clergy were going about in boats to bring bread and food to the people. Four of the Churches are flooded, and there can be no service in them today. You might have thought that we up here in the Castle would be out of reach of any trouble from a flood. But yesterday morning we were informed first that the gas works were all under water and that we could have no gas, and then that the engine which pumps up the water to supply all our houses was also drowned, and that we could have no supply of water!
‘Then our Choir School was all flooded, and the boys had to be taken out. I took possession of Lord Normanby’s house and put some 14 boys there, and we have 3 with us, and the rest were sent home to their friends. No trains can enter or leave the South Western Railway Station. Eton is all under water, and the boys have all been sent home. But I am thankful to say that the water is now beginning to subside. There has not been so bad a flood for 50 years. And I am afraid there will be a good deal of distress and sickness afterwards.’
John (Archives Assistant)