Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


1914 Storm at Lytham & St.Annes.

Newspaper report on a storm and floods in Lytham St.Annes in 1914. 




The storm which swept the coast last weekend wrought considerable havoc all along the Fylde seaboard, and it will be memorable for the heavy rains by which it was accompanied. Hundreds of pounds damage to property was done, and traffic was disorganised for a day and a half.

But in spite of the severity of the storm, the velocity of the wind on Friday evening was not so high as many people imagined, and in many cases it has been exceeded in storms in recent years. The highest velocity registered on Friday was sixty miles an hour, while in a storm last winter the wind blew at over seventy miles an hour. From seven o'clock on Friday evening until five o'clock on Saturday morning, the wind maintained the speed of between fifty and sixty miles an hour. On Thursday the highest gust recorded was forty-eight miles an hour.


At St. Annes all telephonic and telegraphic communication with the outer world was cut off for a time. Great drifts of sand blocked the railway at South Shore, some of the drifts being six and eight feet deep. The motor-rail service was entirely suspended during Saturday, and passengers from inland towns to St. Annes, Ansdell and Lytham, had to change at Kirkham and be brought forward by a local relief train. All passengers between St. Annes and Blackpool had to travel via Kirkham.  Gangs of Men were employed in clearing the sand, but it was not until Sunday afternoon that the service was resumed. Traffic on the Blackpool, St. Annes and Lytham Tramway was disorganised on Friday evening, owing to the over head wires breaking.

Sand drifts along the railway at Blackpool in 1914.
Sand drifts along the railway at Blackpool in 1914.

Chimneys, slates and ridge tiles were dislodged in many parts of the town. At the corner or Lightburne Avenue and South Promenade the entire chimney of a house crashed through the roof and smashed the purlings, doing damage to the extent of many pounds. A portion of the chimney stack at Mrs. Wade's, St. Andrew's Road South was blown down. Six plate-glass windows were blown in—three at Messrs. Gill and Read's, and one each at Boots, Julietts, and Cookson's. Yet at the Pier, where the full force of the gale was felt, not an inch of glass was broken, the only damage being the lifting of some lead sheeting. Part of the scaffolding on the additions to the Imperial Hydro was blown down and other damage down. Great quantities of sand were again blown over the Promenade onto the Esplanade Gardens. An electric light standard in St. Annes Road West, near the Pier, was blown down.

The Packington buoy high & dry at St.Annes in 1914.
The Packington buoy, high & dry at St.Annes in 1914.

Fortunately the tides were not high so that there were no inundations by the sea. But the seas ran high, and two of the big buoys; which mark the Ribble channel broke loose from their moorings and came ashore at St.Annes. The Packington buoy, somewhat similar to the Nelson buoy in shape and size, was cast ashore near Fort William, and Salter's buoy was washed up opposite East Bank Road. Part of the high wooden fence on the westerly side of the Clifton Park Racecourse was also smashed.


At Blackpool there was also considerable damage to property. Chimney stacks, ventilators, windows, window blinds, and advertisement hoardings, were the principal victims of the gale. The gale also caused a stoppage of the Promenade tramway service and some of the tramway men did not get their cars back to the depot until after 2-0 o'clock on Saturday morning, while others were out even longer. Part of the glass roof over the main platform at Talbot Road, Station was broken by the fury of the wind, and fell with a great clatter on to the platform, but fortunately no one was hit. An alarming incident was the blowing, down of a portion of a large advertisement hoarding in Whitegate Drive whilst a motor-car was passing. Some of the wood crashed on the car, but the occupants were not injured.

Three of the older houses in Hawes Side Lane suffered rather seriously, the front walls giving way, causing considerable harm to the inhabitants, while some premises in Back Dean Street, South Shore, were  also damaged.


Fleetwood escaped luckily, for with the exception of a few slates being dislodged, no damage was done to property, and no casualties to shipping were reported.

The "Duke of Cumberland," from Belfast to Fleetwood, on Friday night, had a very rough passage. Heavy and continuous seas broke over her, and she did not arrive in Fleetwood until after 8-0 o'clock on Saturday morning. When the vessel was west of Lune Buoy, she felt the full force of the gale. The bridge end telegraph to the engine-rooms was swept away, the panels of the fan-room were smashed in by the waves, and the top of the capstan was wrenched off and sent through the rails. The steerage was flooded; and the passengers had to leave their quarters. Owing to the strong wind, it was impossible to reach the saloon.

The "Duke of Cornwall,"- on her outward journey from Fleetwood to Belfast the same night, also experienced the full force of the gale during most of the passage. Tremendous seas swept over her, and seats in the after-part of the saloon and in the poop were wrenched from their fastenings, and thrown against the rails with considerable violence, smashing them in several places. The "Cornwall"' arrived back at Fleetwood On Sunday morning, in good time, without encountering any further mishap. The damage to both Steamers is being repaired in Fleetwood.

The crews of the trawlers which arrived during, the week-end reported having experienced very rough weather, but fortunately no damage was sustained by any of them.

The rough weather had a disastrous effect on the fishing industry. The supplies at Fleetwood during the week-end were very meagre, and famine prices ruled.