During the 1953 tidal surge, Brightlingsea was affected particularly severely by the weather. As the tidal waters surged through the town, people could not escape to higher ground due to the suddenness of the catastrophe. The depth and ferocity of the waters meant that family members living just a little way up Beacon Hill were helpless because of the weather. They were forced to watch as a few hundred yards away; their families were at the mercy of the floods. The tidal surge of 1953 was the worst weather event in Essex history, and more than 100 lives were lost in the county.