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THE RECENT STORMS IN ENGLAND., Star, Issue 4297, 30 January 1882
THE RECENT STORMS IN ENGLAND.
Another of those great storms which have marked a year of otherwise brilliant weather has just visited the British Isles. The fine morning of Nov. 26 was accompanied by tho rapid falling of the barometer, more particularly in the West of Ireland, where the storm-wave appears to have ilrat struok. A southerly wind, accompaniod by showers of rain, by degrees grew to the proportiona of a hurricane. The full violence o? the tempest was not felt in London till after nightfall, when the rain descended in torrents and the wind was sufliciently powerful to cause numerous accidents. Houses were blown completely in, numerous roofs were lifted off, tiles and chimney-pots fell ia all direction?, and a cab was blown over. Great damage is reported in the Fool and in tho various docks on tho Biver Thames, and a large number of barges have been Bunk. So tremendous was the violence of the wind, when the storm raged with unexampled fury, that in various parts of the Thames the water was driven back, so that there was not sufficient for the purpose of navigagation, and several steamers went aground. In the country the storm seems to have attained its full strength far more swiftly than in London. In Brighton, where such gales are very severely felt, it was accompanied by thunder and lightning. Several shop fronts were blown out, and the damage to property was very great. As might be expeoted, the Channel ports have borne the full brunt of the hurricane. At Hastings great masses of the Parade have been torn away, and the network of subterranean piping has been laid bare. Folkestone has fared no better, for the new pier extension works above water have been entirely washed away, and the steamers between Folkestone and Boulogne ceased running. Portsmouth endured the full weight of the storm. Damage to the extent of many thousands of pounds has been done ashore, and serious apprehensions are entertained of worse having befallen at sea. Ventnor pier has for the second time been partly destroyed by the sea. Trees and walls have been blown down at Ipswich, but the news from the eastward is mainly reassuring. It is to be feared that in the inland oounties the damage to houses and trees will rival that of the great gale of October, when it was actually dangerous to walk across a wellwooded park. At Hereford, one man at least has been seriously injured. Windsor, as well as the whole valley of the Thames, experienced the full fury of the gale. The lighthouse whioh stood on a rock at Castletown, Berehaven, about ten miles from Bantry Bay, was destroyed by the gale. Five men who were on duty at the time were seen by the coastguards, and H.M.S. Salamis waa sent to their assistance, but oould not approach them on account of the roughness of the sea. Next morning she again went to the place, but in consequence of the continued violence of the weather it was deemed unsafe to launch a boat. At the same time come fresh water was floated to the men, who it is feared, are undergoing painful privations. Fending further attempts to take them from the rock, where they have been exposed to the whole fury of the storm, tho rocket apparatus is employed to supply them with food. Forty feet of the lighthouse it reported to have been carried away.
The following letter, 'which appeared in tho Times, contains some interesting partioulara respecting the Lighthouse at Castletown, which was built of cast iron :— " As the builder of the Calf Bock Lighthouse, situated off Bantry Bay, and observing in the Times of to-day that Her Majesty's ships are attempting to feed the unfortunate men upon the rock by means of rooket apparatus, may I bo allowed to observe that during the four years I was occupied in constructing this tower on several occasions the weather wbb bo bad that we found it impossible for many days to take men off the rook, and we had great difficulty in feeding them. The water is so broken and rough round the rock that my steamboat could not approach, perhaps, within half a mile, while it was impossible for a row* boat to land. We hit upon this expedient : — The men on the rock, having plenty of cordage, fastened a large log of wood to one end of a line and started that on the leeward side of the island out to sea. I had purchased of Messrs Silver and Co, of Oornhill, some beautiful indiarubber bags of considerable size. By an arrangement of Messrs Silver, the mouth of these bags were so folded that no water could enter. Into these bags we placed provisions of all sorts, even such articles as salt, sugar, and kegs with water and beer. These bags we wrapped up in several folds of old, soft bagging to preserve them from the sharp edges of the rock, and having tied the same to the log of timber the men on the rock were able to draw it on the shore. The empty baf s were returned in the came way, and so day by day they were sufficiently fed. On the rock there happened to be a large hole which I enlarged and turned into a sort of chamber, and covered it over with a solid balk timber roof. The weight of water was to great that fell upon this roof that, if my memory serves me correctly, it required to be three balks thick, or three feet thick, before we were enabled to keep it reasonably tight and resist the blows which continually fell upon it. That chamber must be still in existence, and, if the Dublin Ballast Board have been sufficiently thoughtful by repairs to keep this roof in existence, the men driven out of the tower may there find shelter. Of courae, I am not aware in what way tho fracture of the tower has taken place, but at the time to my mind, as a lighthouse constructor, there were several inherent faults of design, which I pointed out to their engineer of that day ; but I was unable to induce him to make any alteration in his plan. At that date there was a groat question as to whether the Oalf Bock was the proper position for a light as to navigation. I and others with me thought that upon an island much higher and a little further off a light might have been sunk into the face of a rock which apparently would have been seoure from all storms and answered the same purpose. It is now to long ago that my memory may fail me, but if I correctly recollect, the Oalf Hook is some 60ft to 90ft high, and its lighthouse was, perhaps, 90ft above that. The fury of the storms from the Atlantic at times was bo great that the water in passing over the rock hid the top of the tower for some two minutes at the time. The tower was of cast iron lined with brick, which lining, I suggested to the engineer, was a great mistake, as it might allow condensation and water to get between the inside of the cast iron and the brickwork, and so ultimately oxidise the tower itself without the knowledge of its inhabitants, and I suggested to him that it would be well to abandon tho brickwork and put the cost of the same into additioLal strengthening pieces of the tower, and to thicken tho plates, and so arrange it that the light keepers might bo able to keep both the inside and outside of the tower in a fresh state of paint. I only mention this that, as the accident has happened apparently (from the report in the Times) from the failure of the upper part of the tower, Englishmen, as it is frequently their habit of doing, may not hastily condemn a useful and cheap form of construction when the accident may have happened, as I fancy it has, from an error of design, and not on account of the material, the engineer not having sufficient practical knowledge of the material with which he was dealing. Thia is tho only failure of a cast-iron tower that I have ever heard of, and I have constructed many. — I am, &c. Henet Gris9ell ."
THE RECENT STORMS IN ENGLAND., Star, Issue 4297, 30 January 1882
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