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The Derby Day Storm Of 31st May 1911


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  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    One of the more famous storm events to have struck the UK. 17 people were killed in the London area on the 31st of May 1911, the day the Derby was run at Epsom.

    Reports on the storms of 31st May 1911

    Lewisham: After a day of oppressive heat and distant rumblings of heavy thunder in NE, SE and SW, a dreadful thunderstorm travelled up slowly from the NE, fanially breaking with all its fury at 6.40pm. Magnificent flashes of forked lightning were suceeded by loud sharp crackling peals of thunder shaking the houses. The rain and hail fell in one solid sheet, flooding cellars and basements to a depth of 4 feet. One resident was over an hour clearing the water away out of his basement. Rain measured after the storm was 1.25 inches.

    Camden Square: The storm broke at 7.25pm and until 8pm, the thunder and lightning were almost incessant.

    Caterham Valley: The lightning was varied in character, forked and in all directions from perpendicular to diagonal, even horizontal, whilst much was either sheet or reflected.

    Banstead: The storm came up from the NE and finished there. The whole place was flooded as the drains could not carry off the water. A boy and a horse were killed at Buckle's Gap, Epsom Downs.

    Bletchingly House: Three houses were struck by lightning and a wall and motor house wrecked. One woman was badly hurt and three children slightly.

    Banstead, Basing House: Three houses were struck and two people killed by lightning.

    Sutton: Hail fell at 5.30pm and the stones measured at 8pm were 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter. Violent lightning and trees and shrubs were literally stripped of their leaves. Several people in the locality were killed and injured.

    Acton: A woman called Hester, wife of a grave-digger employed at Acton cemetery was taking tea to her husband when the lightning struck the cemetary wall which collapsed and fell on her killing her instantly.

    Mitcham: A young City policeman while riding a bicycle on Mitcham Common was caught in the storm and subsequently his dead body was found on the Common. It is supposed that he was struck by lightning.

    Clifton Bury: Some farm buildings were fired and some hundreds of pounds of damage done. Three oak trees and one poplar tree were struck. The lightning struck the ground in the middle of a field of onions and burnt the crop in a round place about 6 yards in diameter. A similiar round patch of parsnips was burnt in another field..

    Some rainfall totals

    Banstead: 3.59 inches

    Harrow: 3.19 inches

    Chipstead: 3 inches

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