Back ... The Great Storm of '78
Sandown Castle Inn
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The Sandown Castle Inn after the storm of '78
The Great Storm of '78 was one of the worst in living memory, but earlier storms caused considerable damage and loss of life, as can be seen from this extract from "The Log of a Sky Pilot", by the Rev. Treanor, Chaplain, Missions to Seamen, Deal and the Downs:

"In the great gale and snowstorm of January 18, 1881, when the windows of 200 houses along Deal Beach were blown in, and the sea was the most fearful thing to look at I ever beheld, although indeed it was with the greatest difficulty I could look to windward at all, two little brigs were labouring in a dangerous and mountainous sea, rapidly dragging their anchors and approaching the land.  Their fate seemed certain, when suddenly their anchors got into this blue clay right opposite Sandown Castle, their cables tautened out like an iron bar, and as their landward drift was arrested, the seas hit them as if solid rocks, and flew sky high over them in impotent wrath.  How they escaped being swamped and overwhelmed at their anchors we know not; but though they lost men swept overboard and off the jib-boom, they rode out the gale."

The Sandown Castle Public House stood at the end of Sandown Road, near the ruins of the old castle. 

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The road at this point is below sea level at high tide, with only the sea wall and a bank of earth to protect it.  After the storm, the building was badly damaged - the cellars had been flooded with sea water, which had swept through the ground floor.  Shortly after this, the pub was demolished and the site remained derelict for some years.  It is now a housing estate.

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This row of houses close to Sandown Castle were badly affected by the flooding.   Shingle from the beach can be seen piled up on either side of the sea wall.

Boarded up after the storm

This house at the north end of the Marina, like many of its neighbours, lost its windows as the sea swept through from front to back.

Sandbags were distributed to houses in low-lying areas of the town in an attempt to keep out as much water as possible.

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Sandbags can be seen piled in front of the cottages on the left

On that fateful day in 1978, a high wind from the east coincided with a spring tide, causing huge waves to break over the sea wall.  Water swept through the sea-front houses, in through the front and out of the back, to run down into the streets behind.

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Boats were smashed on the beach or hurled across the road.   Tons of shingle were piled up in the streets. 

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Homes as far as 200 metres inland were flooded to a depth of several inches.  The Royal Cinque Ports Golf Course became a boating lake.

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Since that time, the sea defences have been raised and strengthened, in the hope that it may prevent the same thing happening again.

The picture (left) shows a view looking up from College Road towards the Sea Front.   The cottages in the middle of the picture are in Sandown Road.