“The Great Tide” was written and researched by Hilda Grieve, then Senior Assistant Archivist at the Essex Record Office. It was commissioned by Essex County Council shortly after the flood, with the intention of documenting the “complete story” of the disaster. Essentially this would be Essex County Council’s official report into the floods, but in the writing, it became so much more.
Published in 1959, “The Great Tide” told the story of the county’s relationship to the sea, the meteorological conditions preceding the flood, the events of 31 January and 1 February, and the subsequent rescue, relief, and restoration efforts in meticulous detail, drawn from six years of careful, patient research. It has since been described by the writer Ken Worpole as “one of the great works of twentieth century English social history”.
Author: Hilda Grieve
Published: Essex County Council 1959 (Re-published Essex Record Office 2020)