A rare storm in 1997 caused catastrophic damage to Blackpool’s most famous pier
A rare and devastating storm that destroyed buildings and killed 10 people hit parts of the UK nearly 25 years ago.
The Christmas Eve storm of 1997 is one of the most memorable storms to hit the region in recent history.
North West England, North Wales and Northern Ireland were pounded by hurricane force winds with thousands of homes damaged and left without power for days.
The destruction caused was described as some of the worst for over 20 years. Families woke up on Christmas morning to the sight of masonry broken on the ground and even trees and telegraph poles uprooted.
There were also 10 deaths reported as a direct consequence of the powerful winds.
As the 90mph winds wreaked havoc across Lancashire, a large section of Blackpool’s North Pier was decimated and washed away.
Before the gales hit, it’s reported fishermen had already expressed concerns about the jetty being unsafe.
A helicopter ride had also operated from the end of the pier, giving short trips down the Golden Mile and back.
Archive photographs have been unearthed showing the catastrophic damage caused to the Grade II listed attraction.
One striking image shows sunlight finally breaking through the storm clouds, illuminating the severed jetty with the pier theatre left perilously close to the edge.
The jetty was not rebuilt following the storm and the remaining section was demolished soon after.
Built in the 1860s, the North Pier is the oldest and longest of the three coastal piers in Blackpool, England.
Despite suffering damage from fires, storms and collisions with boats through the decades, the North Pier has continuously been repaired and reinvented and is still a popular attraction today.