In Ireland the Night of the High Wind 6th January 1839 has been remembered vividly in Ireland. Local histories and many books have chronicled this momentous hurricane which caused so much damage and filled the newspapers for weeks afterwards. Even a Pettigo couple who married on that day were nicknamed afterwards as “the Medole McGraths” that being the Irish word for a hurricane.
As an experiment to see if this terrible event had been mentioned in English newspapers I checked in Newcastle upon-Tyne and found that with unroofed houses, churches and falling factory chimneys they had enough of their own troubles without bothering about the woes of the Irish.
Newcastle Courant January 10th 1839. DURHAM. This city was visited with a complete hurricane on Monday last, the wind blowing strong from the south west. It commenced early in the morning and continued nearly the whole of that day. The injury done to property in the city and the neighbourhood is immense, many of the houses being totally unroofed; some losing their chimneys and others much injured. The engine chimney erected at the carpet manufactuary of Messrs Henderson, fell with a tremendous crash on the roof of one of their warehouses which it totally demolished, but otherwise doing no harm, as the workmen and others usually employed in that establishment not being suffered to work for fear of any serious accident happening. The large chimney at the glass works also fell, but without doing much damage except to the adjoining garden. Two large trees standing on the Palace Green were completely torn up by the roots, the whole of the houses in the College are more or less injured, and the damage done to the Cathedral is estimated at about £100. All the shops in the town were either wholly or partially closed, and business of all kinds was completely put a stop to. Not one single life has been lost.
RYHOPE. —The gale here was most tremendous. The parsonage seems to have suffered most severely. The garden wall on the east was levelled with the ground; most of the glass in the windows of the western front was blown in; one of the outer doors, a large and massy one, was lifted from its hinges, and removed to a distance, and other damage done to a considerable amount. The chapel was partially unroofed. The chimney of one of the cottages belonging to Mr Benson fell through the roof, and the inmates narrowly escaped with their lives. Many of the corn stacks in and about the village were overturned, and , in some instances dispersed to the winds. The unroofing of houses was so general, that few have escaped a greater or less damage. A gale so violent and long-continued has not been experienced in Ryhope within the memory of the oldest inhabitant.
At Jarrow, a chimney and part of the gable end of the house of the Rev. Hugh Nanney, vicar of that place, fell, coming through the roof into the bedroom, in which Mr Nanney was sleeping, and forced the under part of the bed stock through the flooring; but, fortunately, the Reverend gentleman escaped without having sustained any injury.