We’ve had a few blustery days and foggy morning so far this autumn, but nothing like the weather that Southenders had to endure back in the last couple of months of 1924.

In the November of ‘24, Southend was hit by a severe storm which sent boats crashing onto the rocks, swept down buildings and left mariners stranded.

A month later the town was immersed in thick fog for two days straight, causing chaos on the roads.

The storm occurred over Wednesday/Thursday of November 26/27 when gales caused dangerously rough seas in the estuary.

The Southend County Pictorial newspaper reported how “barges sunk and boats smashed “ everywhere.

Water cascaded over Marine Parade and Eastern Esplanade, to the extent homes on the other side of the road were soaked with spray.

More than 50 small boats were smashed to pieces in Southend and at nearby Shell Haven, whiles barges were sunk off the Pier.

At Shell Haven a 200ft steel oil tanker even collapsed as a result of the winds, which saw it reduced to a “mass of crumpled and contorted wreckage”.

Several seamen were trapped while the storm raged.

Among them was Captain W Smith of Ilfracombe Road Southchurch, who was trapped in his sunken barge – ‘the Welsh Girl’ – off the coast of Leigh for hours.

Captain Smith and his crewmate managed to survive by climbing into the rigging of the sunken vessel and holding on for dear life for more than four hours.

“It was only by good fortune that the barge did not not turn over on its side and the mountainous seas would have given them no chance,” reported the Pictorial newspaper.

“They sent flares up for help but it was not until the tide receded they were able to scramble to shore.”

The barge had been on its way from Stanford-le-Hope to Leigh when the wind changed at about 10.30pm on the Wednesday evening.

Captain Smith later told reporters: “Terrific high seas began to break over us. I never saw the like of it before.

“We drew the anchor and did all we could for safety but it continued so that the sea swept us fore and aft.

“We burnt out bed, soaking it in paraffin to make a flare and attract some attention, perhaps from the Pier Head but no help came.

“We were perished with cold.”

Just under a month later, another type of extreme weather descended on Southend when thick fog enveloped the borough for two days.

The arrival of the fog was unexpected. Instead of the mist dissipating with the morning sun, it deepened and blackened for two days straight.

As well as causing chaos on the roads, especially at Victoria Circus in Southend, the Pictorial reported how the fogbank “created a great opportunity for the pessimists and cries went up that there was little hope for Christmas trade.”

Fortunately the fog eventually lifted in time for Christmas.