The Naze has always been vulnerable to erosion as regular cliff falls remind us. Recent storm surges in 2013 and 2017 caused emergency alerts to be issued along the Tendring coast.

However 66 years ago, one of the most dangerous surges took place on the night of January 31, 1953.

The North Sea flood of 1953 was one of the most devastating natural disasters ever recorded in the United Kingdom.

In Walton as well as farmland at the Naze being overwhelmed, sea water surged in the low-lying areas around Mill Lane, Standley Road and Saville Street, including the primary school.

Although Jaywick’s sea defences held firm, 35 villagers perished that night.

The village’s vulnerability had long been known.

The building of sea walls started in the 18th century. But, 65 years ago all those efforts were circumvented by the North Sea.

The killer waters came not from the sea front, but from behind.

The village was caught off guard by a threat which had been unforeseen.

Survivors remember how the water rushed in and how fate could be dictated by ground undulations, which meant the flood levels varied from home to home.

The floods stopped at the Cottage Cafe, half a mile inland. Today, the building is the Jaywick Methodist Church.

Canvey Island further down the coast was hit hard with 58 lives being lost to the water.

Over 1,600km of the UK’s coastline was damaged, and sea walls were breached in 1,200 places, including the defences at the end of The Naze. The remains of which can still be seen at low tide today.

The financial cost of the damage is estimated as £50 million at 1953prices, approximately £1.75billion at 2019 prices.

The surge raced down the East Coast into the southern North Sea, where it was exaggerated by the shallower waters.

A storm surge is a coastal flood of rising water commonly associated with Winter low pressure weather systems, the severity of which is affected by the shallowness and orientation of the water body relative to storm path, as well as the timing of tides.

It was, of course, not just England that was affected by the floods; 19 people died in Scotland, 28 in Belgium, and 1,836 in the Netherlands.

Over 230 people also died on ferries, fishing boats and other vessels which were in the North Sea that night.