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29 October 2014

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Great Storm 1987

You are in: Suffolk > History > Great Storm 1987 > Gallery: Great Storm of 1987

Gallery: Great Storm of 1987

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What are your memories of the Great Storm of 1987? We'd also love to add your photos to this gallery. Email them to:

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Jason Durrant
I was woken by by Nan who was worried about the noise coming from the roof. So I rode my motorbike round to hers and saw the chimney swaying with the wind. I got everyone inside to get dressed and get out of the house moments before the chimney collapsed onto the roof and smash it's way through. Being a practical person I went back into the house and turned of the gas, electric and water. When my nan found out she was furious! 'How am I going to make a cup of tea, my boy!?!' She may have lived through the war and seen houses collapse but for me it was a novel experience!!!

Lung su
I was out clubbing when suddenly a tree came through the window!IN THE MIDDLE OF LONDON!

shuana baxter
I was woken up in my room by a stranded cow being blown into my window!

i woke up to find rubble all over me!

It was horrible we couldn't get out of our drive way because a tree had fallen and was blocking our car!

Colin Marker
Did you know that there were 5000 Electricity Workers in 1987 restoring Supplies. In the last Big storm there were only 750 the same amount of workers that worked in Ipswich Office in 1987.

Dr Chris Wiltshire
At the time I was a Consultant in Oncology at Ipswich Hospital. We were still based at Anglesea Road Wing. On the morning I made a decision to cancel outpatient visits to OUR department as the news was warning that travel was inavisable. I contacted Radio Orwell who agreed to publicise this fact. I was then horrified to hear them announce that ALL outpatient visits to Ipswich Hospital were cancelled. Several phone calls to Orwell attempting to correct this merely resulted in confirmation that ALL outpatient visits were cancelled. I confess that I never did reveal to a rather annoyed and baffled hosptal management that I had inadvertantly started this!!

grainne watts
the only thing i rember is having to walk to work that day no buses were running as it was still windy at 8.30am i used to work at debenhams back then and walking down spring road trying to take care so i didnt have a roof tile land on my head !.it was a very strange day and got to work to find not everyone could get there as some had damage to home`s and car`s an anouncement was put over the speaker for all staff to report in so they could see who was in and how many staff was in that day it turned out there was just enough staff for one per department ( a shoplifters dream ) not a lot was done that day and not a lot of customer`s a lot of the time we just chated about the night before and hoped that everyone was ok i was age 18 i hope we never see the like again .

Mary Porter
I had Leylandi trees on 2 sides of my garden. They had all blown over but were standing at about 45 degrees from the ground.I was living on my own with a 5 year old daughter and by 9.30 that morning I had 2 men from my church calling to check I was OK.One came back with wooden stakes , binding and rope and pulled all the trees upright again.20 years on they are still there but each one has a kink in the trunk where they had twisted.nature is wonderful but so are friends.

John Rawling
What storm?!!!!! My 30th birthday was on the 15th October 1987, and I had been out with friends and had far too much to drink! Woke up thenext morning feeling very much worse for wear. So I decided to take a sicky, phone into work only to be informed that few if any would be arriving and that the school was closed. 'Why?' I remember asking! 'Have you looked outside yet John?' 'No!' was my reply. 'Suggest you do then John!'I was living in London at the time and looking out of my window realised that trees were felled and that roads were blocked. As a geographer I am particularly interested in the weather, and the greatest weather phenomena which this country has experienced in modern times I happened to sleep through! Iwas 50 yesterday and am a lot more careful with my drink.............just in case I miss another huge event!!

Anne Wharnsby
When the storm struck I was working a night shift at Ipswich Hospital.The wind was already quite strong when we began our shift- but as the night went on it became quite aparent that it was no ordinary blustery night. Looking out of the windows across the neighbouring school playing field we could see white flashes of light which we initially thought was lightning but soon realized it was the power lines coming down.There was no lull between the gusts of wind and we had several power dips within the hospital.At one point I dared to open a window in the staff rest room and was amazed by the unusually warm temperature of the wind and the constant rushing sound that it made.The closed double doors within the corridors were slighly flapping open with each extra stong blast.Even though no windows were obviously open.Towards daybreak the damage and debris strewn across the field was all to apparent. Staff soon started phoning in to say they might be late in. And those who managed to get to work all had accounts of their treacherous journeys to work.After a slow drive home I arrive full of concern about the condtion of my house to be greeted by a bewilded husband who had slept through the entire night!

We had a Parkray back boiler fire which we were able to use to heat the one room , hot water & to cook baked beans & toast bread using an old fashioned toasting fork. We had a 1 gallon tub of ice cream in our freezer which we kept trying to get through (2 adults & 3 children) but in the end admitted defeat by sending the rest across the road to another family of 5! This is our children's lasting memory of the storm - the day they were begged to eat ice cream!! We filled the days by playing board games as the children couldn't get to school for some days.

A. M. Gardner
Essex felt the full force of the wind slightly before Suffolk and the noise of slates, fences, and dustbin lids disappearing down the road woke me at about 2am. When the radio switched on at 6am the Police broadcasting on Radio Orwell were telling people to stay in their homes and let the emergency services do their work. 20 years ago there were few mobile phones and many land lines were damaged in the wind so getting touch with work before you set out on a journey was not easy. The methods of calling off meetings,closing schools and colleges I think were improved as a result of that night. In the afternoon when the wind had died away I met a couple who usually left for work at the same time as myself (7am). They had tried to get from Clacton to Colchester by the main road,the back road, and had even tried to cross the marshes towards Frinton but found it impossible to leave Clacton. The next day on my journey to work I saw a small tree blown sideways by the wind at Little Bromley. Now I do not come to Suffolk so often, but I always look to see how that tree is doing when I drive by it. I remember a teacher, living on the Chantry Estate in Ipswich during the storm, who told the pupils assembled in Maidenhall Sports Hall the next morning of the damage he had seen to a group of houses on the western edge of Chantry Estate, left roofless by the wind. They stood fairly high up and caught the full force of the storm as it hit Ipswich.

John Backhouse
Hi, The night before the great storm, i was at Butley near Woodbridge, where my wife to be was living at home with her parents, I left her at 12:30 to go home, but we both rember saying how warm it was and that the sky was a strange purple color. When I got home at Sudbourne, I noticed that the wind was getting stronger but did not think any more of it. I was living in a 32 foot lon mobile home at the time on the edge of the Marshes. At 02:00 the mobile home was starting to lump up and down, which by this time I had been awakened by the sound of the wind. we had already lost the power and I was in the darkness by now. I was serving in the Fire Service at Orford at this time and was on call as I am most days, but little did I now that it was going to be one of the worst night's cll out in living memorey. I was called out to the Station in Orford at 03:56 and I only had to travel 1 mile to get to the Station, but after leaving the farm where I was living I then started to wunder what was going on, as I had not seen any sign of bad weather on the weather cahrts on TV, but as I passed the sub station on the way into Orford i could not see how I was going to be able to drive any further. There were trees down as far as I could see and I tried two other routes into the village with the last route being across some stubble fields. When I turned to go into the Rectory Road where the Fire Station was at that time I came face to face with a roard full on downed tress. I had to park my car with my pet dog on the side of Nightingale Piece, and attemp to attend the station on foot, by this time it was 04:25 before I had got to the station and kitted out. I can rember that there were not many of us as some of the other crew had to come from the Village Sudbourne and Chiilesford and Butley. We had to use ropes to get the station doors open so that the could not swing shut and jam someone in the doors. we then had to go backswards down the roard beside the sation so that we could go into the village and find a way out. Our first call was to Chillesford to a fire at the Old Rectory. I had told the driver that the roads werer bloked with trees, so we went out zig zagging acoss differant roads until we got to the five crssways at Sudbourne. We then headed towards Chillesford but we only got as far as Smoky house on the edge of the forest, where we came face to face with such a hudge amount of trees down, we tried to cut our way through but we did not relise that all of the forest had come down, rember it was still dark. we got onto the radio and told control in IPSWICH that we could not go any further and that we were going to try and go back to Orford. They then said ok but could you go on to Great Bealings, and with that the crew just cracked up with laughter as if we could not get to Chillesford, how can we get to Great bealings. I finaly got hoem at 18:30 and I was totally drained.

chris Martin
I was a young distribution engineer working for Eastern Electricity at the time of the Great Storm. I was called to work at 3am on the night the storm hit and did not return home for 6 weeks! Having set out with gangs of linesmen to start the great clean up operation, I was called back to the office by the Chief Engineer. - No reason was given why I had to return immediately. Had I broken our strict code of safe working I wondered as i drove back to the office? When I arrived it ws obvious. - A helicopter was waiting for an engineer to go up and survey the major overhead line routes to get a view of the damage. - None of the other Engineers wanted to fly in the copter and as the youngest engineer in the office, I was "ordered" to go!! Just one memory of many...

chris collins , woodbridge
Iwas working a night shift on the construction of sizewell B producing concrete for the diaphram wall when the winds came we had huge pieces of kit, cranes etc swaying in the wind which all had to be lowered to ground level and i had to climb on to the top of my batching plant to wash it out hanging on to the hand rails was an understatement

Pat Davis
I was living in Felsham at the time and woke up to feel the whole house shaking; I thought that since it had been there for very nearly 500 years, it should be OK. I didn't realise the magnitude of the storm until I looked out of the bedroom window and thought "I don't remember being able to see the church so clearly"! One of the trees had landed on the Six Bells pub opposite, and it was a priority to get that removed. The two sounds of the countryside for the next few days was that of chainsaws and generators, since we didn't have power for some days afterwards.

CALLEN [The Voice]
During that period I made my own beer and wine. before going to bed that night I have downed a pint of strong homemade cider and slept like a baby alnite. I awoke in the late morning to find two bottles of my homemade wine stored in winerack in kitchen had burst their corks flooding the floor and my alsation dog laying drunk on the floor. high garden fence flattened and tiles off the roof..oh and a hangover! CALLEN [The Voice]

David Isaac
First knowledge of the storm was being awakened by the noise of the wind, seeing garages collapse across the car park, then looking out of my kitchen window (lived at Moorlands, Hollesley at the time) and seeing my greenhouse door being blown across the garden, followed by several panes of glass shattering. When the storm died down I drove to Melton passing RAF Woodbridge and then past where the forest had stood the night before. It was total devastation, very few trees left, those that were stripped of their branches. We were without electricity for at least a week, living by candle light and torches! Thankfully our heating was gas fired!

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