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Great Storm Of 1901 Remembered

If you're interested in local or maritime history, then South Shields Central Library is the place to be this week when artist Janet Wilson will be researching the great storm of 1901.

Janet, who is also working with experts at the Dove Marine Laboratory, Newcastle University, will be consulting a range of information in the library's Local Studies collection, to build up a picture of the storm and how it affected the local community.

The storm started on 11th November, with winds of up to 75 miles per hour. Along the East Coast ships headed for safety, although many of them did not have engines to enable them to battle the gales. On 12th November, the shipwrecks began.

By the time the wind subsided on 15th November, over 40 ships had become wrecked and more than 200 sailors drowned.

All down the coast men risked their lives trying to save the sailors driven ashore. In some cases the rescuers could see the helpless men but could not save them. Before the storm subsided, rescuers too would be overwhelmed by the intensity of the weather, and would give their lives trying to save others.

More can be found out about the storm through the Tomorrow's History website at

Councillor Jim Sewell, Lead Member for Culture and Wellbeing, said: "I am sure that there are many people living locally whose parents or grandparents were among those who watched with horror and fascination as the great storm of 1901 wreaked such havoc on our coastline.

"No doubt tales of loss and heroism have come down through the generations. Here is the ideal opportunity to find out more about this tragic event."

Janet Wilson will be at the Central Library from 1pm to 3pm on Thursday, 22nd February, researching the project for an exhibition, Secret Sea, which will go on display in the Customs House in July. To find out more, contact Esen Kaya at the Customs House on 0191 454 5450, email

For information about South Tyneside Libraries' Local Studies collection or local history groups in the area, contact Anne Sharp or Keith Bardwell on 0191 424 7860, email


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