East & West Molesey

A Dictionary of Local History

Rowland G. M. Baker, 1972

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Low lying and surrounded on three sides by rivers, the Moleseys have long history of flooding. In spite of persistent agitations which succeeded every major flood little was done to protect the district until a severe flood in January 1955 persuaded the Thames Conservancy Board to allocate some 120,000 towards remedial engineering. The Mole was straightened, deepened, and widened over much of its length. New sluice gates were constructed behind The Wilderness, as well as a new Tanners bridge. The Zenith Mill weir, which had previously restricted the outflow, was widened from 18 to 34 feet. These works undoubtedly saved the Moleseys from the usual winter floods which annually troubled the people living near the Mole and Ember, but they were insufficient to cope with the catastrophic inundation of September 1968. On this occasion practically every house in the district suffered in one way or another. The outcry was impossible to resist. New works estimated to cost two million pounds are now in hand. These will include the new-cutting of the whole course of the river Ember to take all the water which maximum predictable conditions demand without overflowing. Work is expected to start next year.

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