AFTER the devastating floods of 1953, the people of Harwich needed all the help they could get to help piece together their lives.

When eight feet of freezing water claimed eight lives and destroyed homes in Bathside, residents whose homes had been ruined were forced to live in caravans on Harwich Green as they waited to be rehoused.

One seemingly unlikely source of friendship during the difficult times was the Norwegian government, which gave those made homeless by the disaster a number of striking wooden houses which still stand today.

A total of 28 homes were donated and split between sites in Harbour Crescent and Norway Crescent in the wake of the floods.

On January 8, 1954, the Standard reported how the timber sections of the first 16 homes had arrived in the town from Norway.

The Harwich Society’s David Whittle believes it was a true act of kindness from the Norwegians, but cannot determine exactly why it came about.

“People had been living in caravans on Harwich Green and Barrack Field after the flood,” he said.

“The houses were originally owned by the council and were used as council houses, but over the years people have bought them. I think it was a genuine act of kindness from the Norwegian government – they always felt very well towards England following the Second World War."