Monday will mark the 25th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1987 which caused huge damage across the borough. Bromley residents have been sharing their memories with HELOISE WOOD.

IT WAS the biggest storm to hit Great Britain since 1703 and claimed the lives of 22 people across England and France.

Winds of up to 120mph battered large swathes of southern England with Bromley and north Kent in the eye of the storm.

Jim Bennett, 45, of Rectory Road, in Beckenham, was a 20-year-old trainee journalist at the time.

He said: "The morning after the storm my father drove me to work and there was devastation all around.

"There was a huge, old tree blocking the road completely so we had to turn around and go the other way.

"I also remember the devastation in Bromley Market Square, the scaffolding which had been put up before was blown everywhere by the storm.”

Mary Street, 74, of Main Street in Biggin Hill, said: "I remember waking up in the middle of the night, which is unusual because I’m a very heavy sleeper and I thought ‘Oh golly, that wind is strong!’ and I went back to sleep.

"Waking up the next morning, one of the window frames in the greenhouse had completely shattered, there was an apple tree lying on the ground in the garden with apples all around."

"When we looked down the Main Road, we saw lots of trees in the road and one lady on our street had a tree come down on her bungalow."

Mrs Street and her neighbours also went without electricity for a few days afterwards.

She said: "It did bring out a blitz spirit in the area, we all came out in the road and checked everyone was OK.

"We just managed the best we could. " 

Mottingham and Chislehurst North Councillor Charles Rideout said: “I  tried to travel up to Westminster by road that morning. It was a nightmare

“The number of trees that had fallen across the roads, in particular a road near mine, Mavelstone Road made it impassable.

“I have never seen such devastation but the local oak trees survived.”

Sixty-six-year-old Jackie Spears, of Edward Road, said:  “The first realisation of the severity of it was waking up to no electricity and a very large tree had blown down on main road crossing the road and lying on a bungalow on the other side.

“We walked along the Main Road and down to the airfield where some of the planes had been flipped over and were lying on their back with their wheels in the air.”

She added: “It looked like someone had played skittles with the trees.”

Kent historian Bob Ogley will be speaking in a lecture called The Great Storm And How It Changed My Life on October 16, starting at 7.45am, at Bromley Baptist Church, in Park Road. Call 07850779156 for more information.