In an effort to track down a report of flooding in the High Street sometime in the 1950s, I have been delving into weather reports and articles. I thought our climate was quite mild and temperate but in the course of this research I have been flooded out, hit by hailstones as big as golf balls, blown away by hurricanes, snowed up, frozen solid and struck by lightning! Who would have thought the weather round here would be so exciting?
I didn’t find the report I was looking for but I did find an account of a big freeze in 1978 as reported in the Poole and Dorset Herald for 23rd February. Things were just getting back to normal after ‘the most savage blizzards for 30 years’ which had paralysed Poole and the surrounding county. Trains and buses had been immobilised and dozens of cars and lorries stuck in deep snow.
This turned out to be good and bad news for High Street traders. ‘A number of shops and offices in Poole High Street remained closed on Monday as staff failed to get through’. However ‘wellington boots were a sell out in Poole High Street stores within hours of opening on Monday morning. After people had struggled and squelched their way to work, they rushed to buy wellies. At Hawkes in the High Street over 60 pairs were sold in a matter of hours. Only size 12 boots were left in stock’.
As for the floods, a picture exists in the archives of a flooded High Street. It is undated but from the evidence of the shops, it was probably taken between 1950 and 1965. Does anyone have more information about this flood or any other weather incidents affecting the High Street?
Poole and Dorset Herald
‘Dorset Weather Book’ by Mark Ching and Ian Currie