Edinburgh weather: Jenners roof hit by high winds

Part of Jenners roof was damaged by high winds as gust of 81mph were recorded in the Capital.

Thursday, 15th January 2015, 4:18 pm
The Edinburgh Castle barrier put up on Johnston Terrace to protect people and cars from falling rocks has been tipped over by the high winds. Pic: Greg Macvean

Part of central Edinburgh was closed after copper sheets from the roof of Jenners blew off in the high winds.

Damaged was caused to the iconic department store - which opened in 1838 and has been dubbed the ‘Harrods of the North’ - by gale force winds that battered the city.

A City street remains closed off by emergency services after high winds dislodged a large piece of masonry and left in hanging over the street.

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Gusts of up to 81-miles-per-hour were recorded on Blackford Hill just before 1pm this afternoon, with wind speeds regularly topping 75mph this afternoon.

For two hours part of Rose Street Lane, just off Princes Street, was under police cordon as roofers worked to make safe the upmarket department store.

It was estimated three copper sheets at the rear of the shop measuring about four meters by one had been tossed onto the lane with others sitting “precariously”.

High winds left a dangerous situation with the roofers saying more metal sheets could have fallen onto Rose Street itself if not secured.

Staff alerted police at about 9am. The Scottish Fire Service attended but were not able to set up equipment to reach the heights of the department store roof because of high winds.

Instead an emergency call was made to roofers who raced to secure the remaining metal sheets.

Darrell Hardy, contracts manager for Corstorphine Roofing and Building, said: “Copper had blown off the roof at Jenners and the remaining stuff was precarious.

“We mobilised the cherry picker to make it safe.

“We had about eight or nine men there at one point. The sheet metal had blown off because of high winds.”

The 33-year-old continued: “The sheets are about four meters in height and a meter wide. They’re are all clicked together. If one sheet goes they all go.

“About three had blown off and the rest were just sitting there.

“The direction the wind was blowing would have carried [other sheets] onto Rose Street which would have been catastrophic.”

He added: “Jenners reacted really quickly. We were there within about 20 minutes of getting the call.”

Police confirmed the lane was reopened at about 11.20am.

Lothian Street, between Bristo Place and Nicolson Square in the Potterow area was also shut just after 12 noon, with buses diverted.

The piece of cladding was hanging off and the road has been sealed off to both traffic and pedestrians.

It has now been safely removed, but it is understood part of the building’s facade was damaged by a gust of wind and is ‘structurally unsound’, with emergency services keeping the street shut off.

A spokesman from the fire service said they were working with structural engineers and building contractors to determine whether the street could be re-opened.

Motorists in high-sided vehicles were tonight reminded not to travel on the Forth Road Bridge and to take note of the prominent warning signs.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Winds have been recorded gusting above 65mph and I urge all motorists to take note of the road safety signs and adjust their route accordingly.

“Given the adverse weather conditions we are experiencing, I would ask motorists to plan ahead and be prepared for their travel plans to be affected.

“The bridge is currently closed to high-sided vehicles and that will remain the case until further notice.

“Anyone who does not adhere to the road safety messages could face charges from the police.”

The winds also blew over a large section of fence shielding Johnston Terrace from falling rocks from Castle Rock.

A spokesman from Historic Scotland, which is responsible for the fence, said the group was now seeking to ascertain the extent of the damage.

The Castle, the Scott Monument and the Nelson Monument have all been closed as a precaution because of the strong winds.

Edinburgh Zoo was also closed this afternoon due to the weather.