The worst weather event in Wickford's history was the flood of 5th September 1958. The High Street was submerged under 6 feet of water and some residents sat out the terrible weather on the top deck of a bus that was stranded in the middle of the flood water. As a result, the flood defenses on the River Crouch were dramatically improved to ensure that such a weather event did not have the same effect again. On 18th September 1992, a smaller, yet still spectacular, weather event took place when an electric storm caused an amazing display of lightning. Unfortunately, two high voltage supply stations were hit in Wickford and over 1000 homes lost their power until repairs could be made.

Wickford History

There is evidence of settlement in the area of Wickford in prehistoric times, but the town probably has its modern origin in Saxon times. It appears in the Domesday Book as an agricultural settlement with 6 different landowners. For most of its history Wickford has been an agricultural village and even with the coming of the railway in 1887 there was only moderate growth. It was when, in 1955, Basildon Urban District Council was founded that Wickford experienced an explosion in growth largely due to its closeness to London. In just 50 years the population has risen from 1000 to more that 32000 residents. Wickford was the birthplace, in 1922, of Naturism in Britain. Wickford is also the location of the 50 acre Wickford Country Park.

Notable people to have links to Wickford include Robert Wikeford (1330-1390) who became Bishop of Dublin. He was born in Wickford and was probably a younger son the Lord of the manor at Wickford Hall. Another child of the town was Elizabeth Reade, wife of the first governor of Connecticut, John Winthrop. It is probably due to this link that the town of Wickford in Rhode Island, USA, received its name. Current celebrities from Wickford include Rhys Thomas (actor/writer/comedian) and Chantelle Houghton (TV personality and winner of Big Brother).