Sunday, 5 January 2014

Storm damage in Aberystwyth in January 2014 and in January 1890

An unusually high tide in Aberystwyth in January 2014 has severely damaged the promenade. We do get some spectacular weather here on the west coast of Wales.

Broken railings and paving on Aberystwyth promenade.

Forceful storms that broke up the promenade also occurred in other years, particularly in 1927 and 1938, and their aftermath was photographed and looks remarkably similar. In January 1890, the Cambrian News reported a storm at Aberystwyth which caused trouble to the train travelling between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth.

"The uptrain from Aberystwyth had to wait in the Junction for over half an hour until the tide had partially subsided. Then the line was cleared of pieces of timber and accumulations of grass and rushes and the train proceeded, though the water was half way up the wheels."

Would the Junction that was referred to here be Dyfi Junction station? The storm in 1890 also caused a hole in the sea wall, in a very similar location to the one that's been opened up this year:

"Unfortunately, the masonry forming the slipway near the Queen's Hotel gave way and subsequently a large hole was washed in the sea wall"

The Queen's Hotel is no longer a hotel, but still exists as a building. It has been used for many purposes since 1890, and has most recently been used as council offices and archives. It's currently up for sale, at a price of approximately £1 million.

The hole in the sea wall caused by this year's weather shows just how powerful the sea is against our buildings and defences.

And in 1890 a steamer in distress was spotted out in the bay, carrying a cargo of pig-iron but having lost its funnel in the storm. The lifeboat was launched, under the command of a Mr Tom Williams, and the crew were rescued and taken to the Belle Vue Hotel for "much-needed refreshments". Our lifeboat was also out rescuing in 2014 and, so far, everyone's safe and sound.

Waves wash over the promenade in front of Alexandra Hall and flood the ground floor.

More photos of what happened in 2014 are on Flickr.