THE VILLAGE THAT COLLAPSED INTO THE SEA
a stormy night in January 1917, the Devon fishing village of Hallsands
collapsed into the sea. The entire village was destroyed together
with the livelihoods of its people.
decades the fishing village of Hallsands and its stunning coastline
had been at the mercy of the forces of nature.
it wasn't nature that led to the dozens of homes being washed into
the sea on a fateful night in January 1917.
was the foolishness of man that obliterated this small Devon village
- the buried village
Hallsands lies largely under the waves, a sad testament to man interfering
sad reminder of Hallsands - the ruins are testament to man interfering
story of Hallsands is a tale of greed, deception, and slow death.
starts in the 1890s when the Admiralty decided to expand the naval
dockyard at Keyham, 30 miles away.
lucrative contract was awarded to Sir John Jackson Limited, one
of the country's biggest engineering companies in 1896.
Board of Trade gave the company permission to dredge shingle from
along the coast between Hallsands and Beesands.
villagers weren't consulted, but protested to their local MP, Frank
Mildmay, as soon as the dredgers appeared.
villagers' protests centred around worries about the fishing industry,
and damage to the coastline including...
that crab pots would be damaged
about disturbance to fish
that removal of the shingle would lower the level of the beach,
thereby threatening their homes
resident of Hallsands|
pressure from the local MP, the Board of Trade agreed to an enquiry.
eventually led to an agreement whereby Sir John Jackson paid £125
per year to the villagers of Hallsands.
about the long term impact of dredging abated, and life returned
years later, storms battered the coastline again and swept away
part of the sea wall. Studies
showed that the beach had fallen by between seven and 12 feet.
death of a fishing village
worst was yet to come.... on 26 January 1917, the village of Hallsands
fell into the sea.
our profile of the village before tragedy struck...
and extremely high tides shook houses to their very foundations,
walls came toppling down, and the waves roared over the breaking
local Gazette reported eye-witness accounts including that of the
Logans who experienced the disaster.
had been blowing hard from the South East all day, and in the afternoon,
the seas came tumbling in, shaking everything all to pieces. We
became greatly alarmed."
is the end of our village. We shall have to go elsewhere." |
of abating, as we hoped it would, the gale increased, and we soon
saw that our cottages would come down."
resident Edith Lamble battled vainly to save her house. She later
recalled "the blackness of that fateful night."
that remains of Hallsands today is the ruins of the chapel which
perches on the edge of the cliff top.
village of Hallsands is now a ghostly sight|
of families lost their homes when Hallsands disappeared.
no villagers died in the tragedy. Many of the families relocated
to North Hallsands or Beesands, having lost most of their belongings.
inquiry into the tragedy was set up, but the poverty-stricken villagers
never got to see what it contained.
Government of the day wouldn't release the report because it said
the tragedy was unequivocally because of the dredging.
villagers were eventually offered £6,000, but some
believe that the villagers were never given the full compensation
is now just a distant memory|
Steve Melia has
lodged a complaint with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
So far he has received no response.
many descendants of the villagers, he believes that it's
time for some official recognition.
story of Hallsands is far from over... and the village refuses to
lie down despite its watery demise.