The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

The Dark Day

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From the GazetteLive:

It was a day that has gone down in Teesside folklore, indeed it has taken on legendary status, a day that would forever be remembered as The Dark Day.

Today, July 2, marks the 45th anniversary of this event.

So it is timely that we have a look back at what some of our readers recall of this occurrence.

Tuesday, July 2, 1968, started out as an ordinary summer’s day, not especially sunny but dry with broken cloud and without a hint of what was about to befall Teesside.

At around 11am the clouds began to gather but still nothing was out of the ordinary until around 40 minutes later when the sky started to darken considerably.

By 11.40am Teesside was plunged into darkness, street lights came on automatically, birds began to roost, office building lit up as workers put on the lights, while people in the street looked ominously at the clouds above.

Then the rain and hailstones came and they thundered down over Teesside, quickly causing localised flooding. The storm only lasted a few hours but nevertheless it was a terrifying experience.

Jan Scott emailed to say: “I remember it, I was at St Pats school in Baysdale Road, Thornaby.

“My class were in the library with our class teacher Mr Duffy. We were all scared and thought the windows were going to come in on us.

“The road outside was flooded and it happened that fast, it took everyone by surprise, and I have never seen anything like it since and never want to see anything like it again.”

Carol McDermott added: “I had been to Whitby for the day with my mam and dad and it was glorious weather there.

“It was only when we got back to my nana’s that we found out what had happened. My nana’s neighbour had got on her knees and prayed in the middle of Harford Street as she thought it was the end of the world. I remember reading about it in the Gazette and seeing the picture – I couldn’t believe it!”

What had actually happened was that a freak weather system had caused the clouds to gather on top of each other until they were an estimated seven miles thick, enough to blot out the sunlight.

The rising atmospheric pollution from Teesside industries may also have played a part.

The Dark Day 45 years ago has never been forgotten by those who witnessed it.


Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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