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The Great Sheffield Gale, 1962

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Excellent details Dave, though I recognize that the experience itself was not excellent. ...

Many of the 1930's council houses on the Arbourthorne, like the one of my aunties where we were evacuated, surprisingly survived with their roofs and everything else intact, - unless they were struck by pieces of flying prefab. The wind itself seemed to cause them little damage, unless of course I just can't remember it or didn't even bother looking due to the total awe of the wholesale destruction of the prefabs.

Some of this houses have since lost roof tiles in much lighter winds than they survived on that night.

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I don't remember the storm but I remember the aftermath. I was 9 at the time and we lived on Fairbank Road (off Herries Road just above the hospital entrance).

What seemed like an enormous tree fell across the bottom of Fairbank Rd, blocking the exit to Herries Rd. I can remember walking through Roe Woods with my father seeing tree after tree felled. They always had an enormous bonfire in the woods each year and I remember that year for its size. Most years were always larger than anything I've seen since.

Here's a picture of the area in the 1950s. Fairbank Rd is opposite the large brick bus shelter which looking at google earth recently, seems to have been removed. Note the one car and the one at the bottom of Fairbank Rd fighting the congestion to get out!

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Watched a programme on BBC last night about wild or extreme weather in the region presented by the local Look North weatherman Paul Hudson.

It included a description of both the 1962 gale and the very cold winter of 1962 /63

There was some old archive film clips of the damage to the prefabs on the Arbourthorne and to those on Sky Edge.

Certainly brought back a lot of old (getting on for 50 years now) memories and still frighteningly realistic as though it had happened fairly recently.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology I have attempted to "preserve" some of these images, - but remember the picture quality is only a captured frame from a 48 year old black and white 16mm film.

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The BBC Panorama programme of 20 February 1962, - 4 days after the gale.

Filmed in "the steel City of Sheffield" at "the headquarters of the civil defence"

People who can remember not only the 1962 gale but also the 1940 Blitz often compare the two when talking about the damage to property.

Love that guy in the tin helmet behind the presenter, - he thinks he still is in the Blitz!

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These damaged prefabs are on Sky Edge

They are not the same style as those on the Arbourthorne as they have an apexed roof, - the Arbourthorne ones having flat roofs.

The window and door positions are also different indicating a different internal layout of rooms.

I seem to remember that although these prefabs were damaged and are in a very exposed position on Sky Edge those that did survive were not cleared and demolished within 4 years like those on the Arbourthorne and some of them were still standing and visible on sky edge until well into the 1970's.

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These damaged prefabs are on Sky Edge

They are not the same style as those on the Arbourthorne as they have an apexed roof, - the Arbourthorne ones having flat roofs.

The window and door positions are also different indicating a different internal layout of rooms.

I seem to remember that although these prefabs were damaged and are in a very exposed position on Sky Edge those that did survive were not cleared and demolished within 4 years like those on the Arbourthorne and some of them were still standing and visible on sky edge until well into the 1970's.

These pictures show the more familiar structure and layout (to me) of the "Arbourthorne style" prefabs viewed from the front

Many of my earlier pictures in this topic showing these houses in much better pre-gale condition show this.

However their design and construction makes them highly suseptable to gale damage which can result in almost to complete destruction.

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These pictures show the more familiar structure and layout (to me) of the "Arbourthorne style" prefabs viewed from the front

Many of my earlier pictures in this topic showing these houses in much better pre-gale condition show this.

However their design and construction makes them highly suseptable to gale damage which can result in almost to complete destruction.

The house in this picture has suffered, in my estimation, around 70% total destruction.

The house is been viewed from about the same viewpoint as the house in the second picture in the previous post BUT all the exterior walls have been destroyed.

The black door on the extreme left is the exterior front door, you can see the garden path leading up to it. Next to this door on the right is an interior door which leads from the living room into a hall. The wall between these 2 doors has completely gone and you can see the foundations of the house on the floor where the walls used to be. That front living room window angled around the corner (see previous post) and the out wall along the whole of the house front, - GONE, leaving the living room fully exposed.

From this interior door moving to the right we can see the living room fireplace and mantlepiece, followed by 2 windows, one either side of a door which leads into the kitchen followed by another internal door angled at right angles beyond which the rest of the house has gone. This door lead into one of the 2 bedrooms and the picture clearly shows that both bedrooms have completely gone.

All that is left is the kitchen, bathroom, toilet and hall. It is not possible to assess the damage to these in this picture but the 3 largest rooms, living room and 2 bedrooms are completely gone along with the flat roof.

The house below appears to be in better condition as it is further down the hill. Our own prefab survived because it was in such a position.

Beyond that prefab seems to be Arbourthorne field and then the City centre so I would guess that this particular prefab is on Algar Drive.

In fact, I know it is, - it was so close to our own prefab (just across the back) and I remember playing in this wreck.

It could well have been the roof off this very prefab which blew across the back and hit our back fence which collaspsed but brought the roof to rest. Had our fence not been there it would have hit our prefab and destroyed that as well.

For this reason even after nearly 50 years I find images like this both fascinating and quite frightening.

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The house in this picture has been ripped clean in two across its width

Both the bedrooms have completely gone but the reast of the house is still standing.

The back bedroom appears to have toppled into the kitchen but the front room is still divided from the living room.

Those 2 small black grills above the doors were heating and ventilation grills and were above the doors to both bedrooms. The dividing wall between these rooms has also gone.

This house in the forground appears to be on Northern Avenue, the houses beyond, in order of increasing distance are on Algar Place (where our prefab was) and then Algar Drive.

In the distance are some brick built council houses, these are on Arbourthorne Road at the other side of Arbourthorne Playing Fields.

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The house in this picture has been ripped clean in two across its width

Both the bedrooms have completely gone but the reast of the house is still standing.

The back bedroom appears to have toppled into the kitchen but the front room is still divided from the living room.

Those 2 small black grills above the doors were heating and ventilation grills and were above the doors to both bedrooms. The dividing wall between these rooms has also gone.

This house in the forground appears to be on Northern Avenue, the houses beyond, in order of increasing distance are on Algar Place (where our prefab was) and then Algar Drive.

In the distance are some brick built council houses, these are on Arbourthorne Road at the other side of Arbourthorne Playing Fields.

This picture was taken from Northern Avenue and may well have taken the image in the previous post.

This particular picture appeared in The Star and showed that the BBC (and the ITV as well) were there ti film it.

Not only did it appear on Panorama but also on the local news "Scene at 6:30"

My friend Billy Twig got on TV with Mike Scott and Bill Grundy and was interviewed even though their prefab, next door to us, had suffered minimal damage (broken windows)

Interestingly that camera is pointing down towards Algar Place almost directly at our prefab.

That bloke walking past in the cloth cap is "Pilk" (Bernard Pilkington) a well known Arbourthorne character who was a neighbour of ours when we moved up onto Eastern Avenue.

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Also taken from The Star of the time.

The picture shows the Lord Mayor, Alderman J.W. Sterland with Alderman (Alderwoman?) Mrs. Grace Tebbutt, leader of the City Council and George Brown, deputy leader of the council controling labour Party inspecting damage to the prefabs in the immediate aftermath of the gale.

The prefab they are inspecting has suffered a similar amount of damage to the one on post #57

The picture is taken from what was the front bedroom with the City dignitaries in the living room.

At the top right is the bedroom ventilation grill above what would have been the doorway from the bedroom to the living room and apart from that bit of overhanging debris the internal wall between the 2 rooms has gone.

This time we can clearly see the door into the kitchen with a tall fancy glass window either side of it before we get to the fireplace and mantlepiece. As the roof has completely gone notice the chimney flue pipe protruding above the house directly above the fireplace and without the chimney stack.

The rest of the living room has completely gone as behind the councillors we can see the bedroom end, still apparently intact, of the next prefab up the street.

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I lived in a prefab up foxhill at the time of the great gale ended up with half a bus shelter on the roof

the most frightning night of my life '

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I lived in a prefab up foxhill at the time of the great gale ended up with half a bus shelter on the roof

the most frightning night of my life '

So were the prefabs at foxhill flat roofed like those on the Arbourthorne or slightly pitched like those on Skye Edge?

Both types can be seen in the previous BBC pictures

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I was working at Samuel Osborn's at the time and when I eventually got to work, after ducking a precarious chimney at home, there was a slate embedded in one of the drawing boards in the office. It had been flung through the window and was sticking out, edge on, about neck height :blink:

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I was working at Samuel Osborn's at the time and when I eventually got to work, after ducking a precarious chimney at home, there was a slate embedded in one of the drawing boards in the office. It had been flung through the window and was sticking out, edge on, about neck height :blink:

It always seemed to me, as in the tale of the 3 little piggies and the big bad wolf who could huff and puff and blow your house down, that the houses made of straw and sticks (or in Sheffields case, asbestos) were almost completely destroyed while the houses made of brick seemed to escape with fairly minor damage involving mainly the loss of roof tiles or slates, or, in a few more tragic cases which resulted in deaths, the loss of a chimney stack.

However, I seem to remember seeing pictures of some proper brick built houses which had suffered more extensive damage with loss of external walls revealing the house interior, similar to the damage sustained by the prefabs.

It would take one hell of a gust of wind to do this, and it would be unlikely that any occupants would escape from the building totally unscathed.

Does anyone know of such damage caused during the Sheffield gale?

As I said, I am sure I have seen some pictures somewhere of damage of this type.

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So were the prefabs at foxhill flat roofed like those on the Arbourthorne or slightly pitched like those on Skye Edge?

Both types can be seen in the previous BBC pictures

roofs of prefabs at foxhill were slightly pitched

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roofs of prefabs at foxhill were slightly pitched

So like the ones at Skye Edge then, - like the ones shown in post #55

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Pathe News Film of the Sheffield Gale

some good footage but unfortunately it seems to be lacking its sound track

<h2>SHEFFIELD HURRICANE DAMAGE</h2><iframe src="http://www.britishpathe.com/embed.php?archive=62252" name="pathe_flash_embed" width="352" height="264" scrolling="no" frameborder="1"><p>Your browser does not support iframes.</p></iframe>

Managed to find the Pathe film but not the BBC Panorama one as shown, in part, on TV last week from which I managed to "borrow" some still frames

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Pathe News Film of the Sheffield Gale

some good footage but unfortunately it seems to be lacking its sound track

<h2>SHEFFIELD HURRICANE DAMAGE</h2><iframe src="http://www.britishpathe.com/embed.php?archive=62252" name="pathe_flash_embed" width="352" height="264" scrolling="no" frameborder="1"><p>Your browser does not support iframes.</p></iframe>

Managed to find the Pathe film but not the BBC Panorama one as shown, in part, on TV last week from which I managed to "borrow" some still frames

Another, somewhat older but with sound, Pathe newsreel about the building of the prefabs (not in Sheffield, but generally throughout the UK) immediately after the end of the war.

The type of prefab I lived in, and the type common on the Arbourthorne was the flat roofed, 2 bedroomed, asbestos clad, front door at the side Uni-Seco Mark II model which is illustrated in this film.

<h2>HOMES WHILE YOU WAIT</h2><iframe src="http://www.britishpathe.com/embed.php?archive=48164" name="pathe_flash_embed" width="352" height="264" scrolling="no" frameborder="1"><p>Your browser does not support iframes.</p></iframe>

Other types of prefab mainly had a central front door and a pitched roof, like the most popular Arcon Mark V model, and were made of timber, aluminium, cast concrete, steel and corrugated asbestos prefabricated units instead of the flat asbestos panelling of the Uni-Seco design.

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I was a 15 year old schoolboy at Norfolk School on Craddock Road. The morning following the gale, some older boys including myself and a couple of male teachers, went to the prefabs on and around Errington Road. We were told to recover any items of furniture or other valuables and take them to the assembly hall at the school for storage. I remember some of the prefabs had their flat roofs missing, there was devastation everywhere.

Clothing, books,newspapers,buckets and all kind of stuff was flying about. The wind was still really strong probably around 60-70 mph. It was really dangerous and quite frightening. I remember a group of lads pushing a settee on castoring wheels up to the school and as soon as they reached the top of Craddock Road near Brimmesfield Road, the wind took hold of the settee and it careered out of control down down Craddock Road and was stopped when it demolished a privet hedge and finished up in the front garden of a house at the end of Dagnam Road.

I clearly remember later in the day, the school assembly hall was full of furniture and all sorts of house contents.Obviously I didn't know it at the time, but my future wife Chrissie, who was 14 at the time lived in one of the prefabs down there. She was awakened when the neighbours 'coal house' took off and smashed into her bedroom window. The window smashed and the subsequent near 100mph wind peeled the prefab roof clean off. The wall started to flap about. She and her parents grabbed a few clothes and fled to a relatives brick built house on Hallyburton Road. Their dog Kim was not seen for several days but finally turned up.

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I was a 15 year old schoolboy at Norfolk School on Craddock Road. The morning following the gale, some older boys including myself and a couple of male teachers, went to the prefabs on and around Errington Road. We were told to recover any items of furniture or other valuables and take them to the assembly hall at the school for storage. I remember some of the prefabs had their flat roofs missing, there was devastation everywhere.

Clothing, books,newspapers,buckets and all kind of stuff was flying about. The wind was still really strong probably around 60-70 mph. It was really dangerous and quite frightening. I remember a group of lads pushing a settee on castoring wheels up to the school and as soon as they reached the top of Craddock Road near Brimmesfield Road, the wind took hold of the settee and it careered out of control down down Craddock Road and was stopped when it demolished a privet hedge and finished up in the front garden of a house at the end of Dagnam Road.

I clearly remember later in the day, the school assembly hall was full of furniture and all sorts of house contents.Obviously I didn't know it at the time, but my future wife Chrissie, who was 14 at the time lived in one of the prefabs down there. She was awakened when the neighbours 'coal house' took off and smashed into her bedroom window. The window smashed and the subsequent near 100mph wind peeled the prefab roof clean off. The wall started to flap about. She and her parents grabbed a few clothes and fled to a relatives brick built house on Hallyburton Road. Their dog Kim was not seen for several days but finally turned up.

Welcome to SheffieldHistory tonywinfield and thank you for posting.

Firstly, you are about the 13th or 14th member of this forum known to be an ex student of Norfolk School.

Have you seen our Norfolk School topic?

Well worth a look an hopefully you will have something to contribute to it.

Secondly, what a brilliant set of memories about the Sheffield gale.

I see that Man Thompson and Man Whitham had got the old Norfolk lads organised to cope with a major disaster, - I didn't realise they had done that.

Then again Norfolk was like many other schools in that they can do a lot of good organised community work like this and not even get a "thank you", but if just one naughty kid causes a bit of trouble it gets reported and remembered forever giving the whole school a bad name. :(

Thirdly, Being an Arbourthorne lad I know all the locations well. I knew Norfolk was doing some sort of "refuge" work, putting newly homeless people up for a while and offering shelter from the storm. I myself went to Norfolk but on the day of the storm was evacuated out to my aunties at the top of Northern Avenue and from there it was obvious that Hurlfield Boys School (as it was then) was doing something very similar, - another school doing a good turn in a crisis but otherwise tarnished by any wrongdoing.

The house you mention on Dagnam Road (No 1) used to be the home of a friend of mine and Stuarts. He didn't live there in 1962 he lived down south in Axeminster but moved up here in 1963. Initially he lived in a prefab on Algar Drive which faced our prefab on Algar Place. Both of these prefabs were undamaged in the gale but the previous occupants of the one on Algar Drive moved out as they now had very few neighbours. In 1965-6 when the estate was cleared they moved to that very house on Dagnam Road.

Finally, thanks again for a very interesting post. I look foreward to reading more.

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The type of prefab I lived in, and the type common on the Arbourthorne was the flat roofed, 2 bedroomed, asbestos clad, front door at the side Uni-Seco Mark II.

Here are some images of a Uni-Seco Mk. II prefab taken from a real building at RAF Duxford Imperial War Museum.

The images themselves have been made into Google Sketchup 3D model.

Google Sketchup is a free program, provided by Google, for drawing 3D architectural structures, - mainly for dropping these 3D structures into Google Earth views. However Google Sketchup can be used as an architectural design tool.

Anyone with Google Sketchup on their computer can download the 3D model HERE

The images are copyright Google 3D warehouse

Edited by DaveH
Copyright message added to credit Google

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FRONT VIEW

Front door under the recessed enrance porch on the left, followed by the living room window (which actually wraps around that corner like a bay window would) and finally the front bedroom window on the right.

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LEFT SIDE

This view shows the recessed porch to the front door and the wrap around living room window on the right.

The central window goes into the entrance hall and just through the window can be seen a door into an airing cupboard with the hot water tank in.

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BACK VIEW

From left to right here we have the back bedroom window, ventilation grill into the pantry, back door going directly into the kitchen with kitchen window alongside, bathroom window and finally the toilet window.

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