Bridlington to mark 150th anniversary of The Great Gale of 1871

Bridlington will mark the 150th anniversary of a huge storm which claimed dozens of people's lives next Sunday.

By Sarah Fitton
Monday, 1st February 2021, 9:26 am

The Great Gale of 1871 is thought to have killed up to 70 people when it battered the Yorkshire Coast, including six Bridlington men who were aboard one of the town's lifeboats.

The crew of The Harbinger had already made several rescues and were attempting to help those on board a brig when a wave capsized the lifeboat and six of the nine local men drowned.

The Archbishop of York was due to attend the annual service, held at Bridlington Priory Church, and a restored lifeboat from Whitby Historic Lifeboat Fund was to be pulled through the town following the route of the original funeral procession to mark the historic anniversary of the tragedy.

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A service marking the 150th anniversary of The Great Gale of 1871 held at Bridlington Priory Church will be live streamed.

But because of coronavirus restrictions, the visit and procession have been cancelled.

Instead, a live stream of the service will take place at 10.30am on Sunday, February 7 on Friends of Bridlington Priory Church's Facebook page, and a representative from the RNLI will lay a wreath at the memorial.

Members of the public are asked not to attend the church in order to adhere to current coronavirus restrictions.

There are also plans to commemorate the anniversary later in the year once coronavirus restrictions allow.

The gale hit the Yorkshire Coast on February 10, 1871.

Several ships were using Bridlington Bay to shelter from the previous day’s bad weather in an area known affectionately by local sailors as ‘The Bay of Refuge’.

When the wind changed direction and conditions deteriorated, it caused ships to run aground or into the harbour walls.

The exact number of deaths caused by the storm is not known but it is thought to be in the region of 70.

As many as 23 coal ships are known to have been wrecked and debris was washed ashore along the coast for weeks afterwards.

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