Campus trees destroyed in the Great Storm of 1987
Twenty-five years ago today (16 October) students across campus were waking up to the devastation left by the Great Storm of 1987.
Hurricane winds battered the south coast in the early hours of 16 October and ended with over 300 trees uprooted across the central campus of the University.
Many of these trees including elms, giant beeches, oaks, and sycamores, were over 200 years old and had successfully been maintained by University grounds staff against disease.
Russell’s Clump, to the north-west of the Gardner building (located behind the library) suffered the most damage with over 90 per cent of trees in the area destroyed and lost.
Although the majority of campus buildings were spared extensive damage, the severity of the 120mph winds left both the Sport Centre and the Central Stores with holes in their roofs. A car and catering supplies van were also crushed by trees in the Sport Centre car park.
An article published in the Bulletin internal news letter in October 1987 reported that 16 grounds staff had worked throughout the weekend (16-18 October) to clear access to roads and car parks. Painters, fitters, and carpenters were also part of the operation to ensure that campus buildings were safe for students and staff.