The storm which left shop dummies rolling around Sunderland's gutters

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2,000 houses were damaged in Sunderland

Storm Ciaran brought devastation to large swathes of the UK.

But who remembers the year when 92mph winds roared through Sunderland?

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Gale damage in Monkwearmouth in 1968.Gale damage in Monkwearmouth in 1968.
Gale damage in Monkwearmouth in 1968. | se

It happened 55 years ago and more than 2,000 houses were damaged. But this was a storm which would have some unusual consequences.

Fully-clothed dummies were rolling round in the gutters

Sunderland in 1968 was strewn with broken glass and debris. In High Street, dummies from a smashed shop window were blown into the roadway.

A Sunderland shipping scene from 1968.A Sunderland shipping scene from 1968.
A Sunderland shipping scene from 1968. | se

They were still clad in the latest fashions and they were rolling around in the gutters.

The launch of The Argonaut at J.L. Thompson’s shipyard was postponed and the sheds at Doxfords were badly damaged.

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4,000 ton ship blown 700ft across the docks

In the South Dock the 4000 ton collier Bearwood broke from her moorings and was blown 700ft from one side of the dock to the other.

Thousands of empty milk bottles, left out on steps the previous night, had been blown away and smashed. The streets were strewn with broken glass.

The aftermath of the storm in Southwick.The aftermath of the storm in Southwick.
The aftermath of the storm in Southwick. | se

Sunderland’s football ground, Roker Park, was badly damaged.

An emergency operation centre was set up

An operation centre was set up in Frederick Street to get the town back to normal but repair work took months to complete.

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This November, Met Office experts are expecting gales to continue well into November, especially on exposed coastlines.

Then, we'll get a spell of calmer but colder conditions.

Spare a thought, though, for the people of Sunderland in 1968 who coped with streets strewn with dummies, smashed milk bottles and debris.

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