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


1933 - A Blackpool Storm




When the storm broke over Blackpool, a flash of lightning was seen to encircle the crow’s nest of the famous Tower. It travelled down between the pillars and ended in the lift-well at the bottom.

Stallholders at the top of the Tower were startled when the lightning struck the ironwork. They were having lunch at the time. No one was Injured. A lift which was descending at the time the lightning travelled down the pillars shook under the shock.

An official of the Tower said that there was never the slightest risk of danger in any thunderstorm, because the Tower is itself a conductor, and breaks the shock of any flash.

The tramcar service in Blackpool was held up for nearly an hour owing to the electricity current being cut off.

Leeds Mercury - Saturday 08 July 1933




TWO balls of fire floating over the centre of the town gave hundreds of Blackpool holiday-makers the scare their lives to-day during a thunder storm which swept in from the Irish Sea and spread over the town with amazing rapidity.

Young girls fainted when there was a bright flash and a terrific explosion. Cashiers in the pay boxes at the Tower Buildings were thrown off their feet. Electric light circuits were thrown out of gear, and wireless sets exploded. Half an hour the storm has passed on, and the sun was shining again, but many of the people who were in Bank Hey-street and on the Promenade near the scene of the explosion were so badly scared that taxis had to be got to take them home.

In the centre of the town the telephone service was temporarily interrupted, but quickly resumed, and the Post Office was inundated with inquiries. But in some parts of the town within mile of the Tower Building the storm had not been felt at all, and there had not been a drop of rain.

A man who saw the fire balls told a "Lancashire Daily Post" reporter that both seemed to land on the top of the Tower building.

"The flash was right over the Tower itself,” he said, "and I saw two balls of fire floating downwards. They were not near the Tower, but seemed to come down on to the workshops. One disappeared, and the other seemed to bounce and roll outwards into the air to descend in Heywood-street."

“It was like being back in France,” said Harold Brierley, Larkhill-street, Blackpool, who was in a refreshment room the Swan Hotel, in Back Hey-street.

"We saw a flash which seemed to travel right round the room and then there was terrific bang. I thought a Big Bertha had hit us. Women screamed and for a moment wondered what had happened."

"The lights went out, and we heard another explosion upstairs. Mr, Jackson, the manager of the hotel, ran out of the room and in moment he came back and told us that the wireless set had exploded."

"A shopkeeper ran in and said his wireless was on fire.”

Mr. Jackson told a "Lancashire Daily Post” reporter that a sheet of flame came out the wireless set near the mains connections, and then whole set seemed to be in flames. "I had the shock of my life,” he said. ”The room seemed to be full of burning rubber, and of course, the set was useless.”

Then the Downpour

The suddenness of the crash startled people all over the centre of the town, and visitors in cafes and shoppers well as shop keepers rushed into the streets fearful of an explosion. The electric light service was quickly restored and there was interruption of the tram services.

The sunshine which followed the storm quickly disappeared and rain began to fall steadily over the whole of the town.

"lnto the Sea"

A car park attendant who looks after vehicles a narrow by-way between the Tower buildings and Woolworth’s stores claims to have seen a thunderbolt drop into the sea.

"I heard a terrific bang, and saw a vivid flash over Hill's bazaar,” he said. "Looking towards the Promenade I saw a very bright blue flash over the tramway wires.”
"I thought for the moment that the wires were down. A dark object seemed to leap the wire and vanish into the sea.”

"I got the wind up for the moment, because the thunderbolt appeared to come down this narrow passage, and seemed as if it would strike the cars I am responsible for.”

The man in charge of the inquiry bureau on the Promenade could not verity reports of a thunderbolt having gone into the sea. He stated that he heard a terrific bang from the town side of the Promenade, but did not see any thunderbolt come over.

 Lancashire Evening Post - Friday 07 July 1933

See also Lightning strikes Blackpool Tower, 1949.