Shropshire Star

This flood is 'an evil one', says landlord of flooded pub in Ironbridge Gorge

Mario Thomas, the landlord of The Boat Inn pub, said the flooding on Thursday has been ‘a complete shock’.

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The Boat Inn

A Shropshire pub landlord whose premises are under water has said the latest flood has been “an evil one”.

Mario Thomas, 65, who has been the landlord of The Boat Inn in Jackfield, since March 2022, said it has been the third flood he has seen at the property in less than 12 months, adding that the pub is “prone to flooding” due to its proximity to the River Severn and a nearby brook.

However Mr Thomas, who runs the business with his wife Lisa Thomas, 50, said this has “been the worst of the three” and has “taken us by surprise, immensely”.

Mario Thomas and his wife Lisa wading through flood water on their way to the pub
Mario Thomas and his wife Lisa Thomas wading through flood water on their way to The Boat Inn (Sam Dimmack/PA)

According to forecasters, the storm has left the ground saturated and more prone to flooding.

Mr Thomas said a nearby brook close to the River Severn had burst its banks and flooded the pub and neighbouring properties.

“It certainly made me cry (on Thursday) to see the devastation it’s caused, it is unbelievable.

“It took us by complete shock and within literally hours, (the water) just kept rising so fast.

Inside The Boat Inn with high water
Flood water inside The Boat Inn (Mario Thomas/PA)

“The last two (floods) have been OK, but this one, this is an evil one.”

Mr Thomas said the property has been flooded since December 31 and it “got worse and worse” until the water level rose significantly on Thursday.

“I knew it was going to flood but I didn’t think it was going to be so severe,” he said.

“It’s hit us hard because we didn’t have any time to get most of the furniture out of the building.

Inside The Boat Inn with flood water reaching the windows
Water reached the windows inside The Boat Inn (Mario Thomas/PA)

“It has taken us by surprise, immensely.”

He estimated that the water is more than 4ft deep, saying it was up to his chest when he entered the building.

“The property is prone to flooding and this is my third one in just under 12 months – this one is the worst of the three.

“We saw a horrendous flood three years ago and that was bad, and this is not far off it.

A view of the pub from outside with heavy flooding
Mario Thomas said the flood on Thursday has ‘taken us by surprise’ (Liam Ball/PA)

“The tables and chairs can be replaced and hopefully it won’t get to the fridges as they’ve been raised quite high.”

He added: “It doesn’t matter what flood defences we put up, we might minimise it, but we’ll never stop it.”

“We’ll take a hit but we won’t know until the middle of next week when the water has resided, hopefully it will be minimal,” he said.

Liam Ball, 31, who witnessed the flooding to The Boat Inn and posted images on X, formerly Twitter, said it is “very sad to see it constantly get flooded”.

Winter weather Feb 25th 2020
Flooding at the The Boat Inn in 2020 (PA)

“The Boat Inn floods regularly, I always pop down when flooding occurs to see how it has affected the pub,” Mr Ball, who lives five miles away in Dawley, said.

“It’s quite high up the door but it’s been higher in recent years such as 2020 and 2022.

“It is still a massive flood though.”