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Ball Lightning (Thunderbolts)


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Sometime in the mid fifties I was playing as a young lad in our little back-garden on the hillside to the north of Holme Lane. It was an hot summers day and very close (as we say in Sheffield). I noticed a very bright light above me and looked up to see a very bright ball of light descending from the clouds. It seemed to take an age to meander in a very erratic fashion downwards. Eventually it reached the top of a chimney down in bottom of the valley and I saw bricks flying in the air. I went to investigate aided by the sound of a fire-engine bell and found that it had struck the gable of a chemist shop at the junction of Loxley New Road and Holme Lane. It did considerable damage to the brickwork and I expect even more damage inside.

My grandfather used to tell the tale of sitting in a chair in the doorway of his home in Wales Road, Kelvin, when a thunderbolt slowly descended a few feet in front of him and landed in the yard gully. He was blown backwards out of his chair and the yard was filled with steam.

The thunderbolt I saw was football sized and extremely bright white in colour.

On a similar vein I remember being shown a vivid display of the Northern Lights one night sometime in the late fifties.

My father had spotted them and woke me to look at them. From memory they were very intense and colourful.


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