Flashback: The chaos of the 1957 storm that destroyed Hatfield’s post-war homes

Hatfield storm 1957

Houses in Hatfield lost roofs after a storm in 1957. - Credit: Herts Ad/Our Hatfield

In November 1957, a storm ripped through southern England with winds hitting 80mph. In Hatfield, post-war homes bore the brunt of the weather.

47 houses in Hazel Grove had their roofs torn off by the winds, leaving families homeless, although neighbours pulled together to support them.

“As always, disaster brings out the best in people, and help, both official and unofficial, is quickly forthcoming,” said the narrator of the British Pathé film covering the havoc.

“Neighbours find space for victims, but local opinion, led by their MP Lord Balniel, demands an inquiry into the design and craftsmanship of these post-war houses, which failed to withstand the force of an English storm.”

Lional Brett, a partner of Brett, Boyd and Bosanquet, the architects for the houses, would later say: “The damage might have been caused by suction from above or pressure from below.

“The damaged occurred to the most exposed roofs of houses in the most exposed part of town, and an inquiry will be held.”