“I SAW the close wall come in. There were customers in the shop and they hurried out.” One of her colleagues, she added, “was near the big refrigerator against the wall when it collapsed. She tried to run for the door but must have been caught by the falling rubble.”

The woman was talking to reporters after part of a building collapsed onto the back shop where she worked in Glasgow’s Argyle Street, in late July, 1959. Initial reports said police had seen signs of a crack in the building’s close, believed to have been caused by torrential rains during the night.

A young woman of 17 who worked in the shop was taken to hospital, where she was found to have suffered shock and extensive bruising. Her two colleagues,were dazed but unhurt.

The tenant of the only house occupied on the building’s second floor said: “I heard the building settling with the creak of splitting woodwork this morning and I needed no second telling when the police warned us out.” He, his wife and others had reached the close mouth when the back of the building collapsed. Dust from the rubble followed them as they ran onto the street’s tramlines, heedless of traffic.

In Ayrshire, a thunderstorm caused the river Irvine to overflow its banks, and the towns of Newmilns and Darvel witnessed heavy flooding. Side-streets leading from the river and the main streets of both towns were flooded in places to depths of more than four feet. One Newmilns shop-owner, called from the shop to his home in Darvel, said: “When I arrived, the water was up to my knees, and when I got into the house it was just flowing through the front door and out the back.”

Floodwater also damaged stock in several shops in Stirling.