It is pretty blustery today in Orkney and there are therefore some very creepy noises to be heard in our wind-trap of a building. The strongrooms can be particularly terrifying as the windows are fitted with wooden blocks to keep the sunlight out. This seems to create a strange semi-vacuum that can suddenly erupt right next to you as you peacefully file away the archives.
This is nothing, however, compared to the devastation that greeted Orcadians on the morning of 15th January 1952. The pictures above show the sort of damage that the 135m/ph 'hurricane' left in it's wake. Shops were razed to the ground, doors and roofs were whipped off, never to be seen again and the thriving Orkney egg business was badly damaged with entire coops of hens being swept away with their inhabitants still inside.
The destruction was no surprise to anyone as it had been impossible to sleep through a storm of such violence. Some had been shaken from their beds and one Sanday man was forced to flee his house in just his pants, tee hee.
Unfortunately, this was just one storm in a run of terrible weather for Orkney. The previous year, a storm had pulled down electricity lines; in 1953 another terrible storm battered sea fronts and exposed water pipes plus there were floods in both 1953 and 1954.