EARLY on Wednesday 13th October 1819, a furious thunderstorm hit Alva and the surrounding areas.

The older inhabitants in the parish said that it was the heaviest fall of rain they could ever remember.

The streams and burns were swollen beyond their limits. At that time, it was the worst seen since records of local flooding began.

The Alva burn, flowing from the deep and narrow glen in the Ochils above the town, had been almost dry during the summer months as a result of a drought.

This had caused issues with the woollen mills which depended on the burn to turn the waterwheels that powered the machinery.

That Wednesday the burn was more like a river, as it rushed down to the valley 'with fearful impetuosity'.

It swept away everything that got in its way. This included large trees, and the banks on which they grew, and garden walls.

The embankments that had been built up to prevent a surge of water flooding the town were ripped away and swept downstream by the relentless storm.

The old bridge, consisting of a large stone arch, was 'gorged' and although it survived for a time, it too was unable to resist the force and was swept away until the stones that had been used to build it were embedded in the channel. Scarcely any of it was visible the following day.

If the flood has lasted a couple of hours longer then there was no doubt that the banks would have given way completely and the town would have been inundated, flooding homes and businesses.

The storm finally abated at around 5 o'clock in the morning and the flood began to subside.

At Menstrie the stone bridge at the turnpike road was also completely swept away. Just before it fell into the torrent, a man was seen trying to remove a cart that had been left on it during the night.

The cart was swept away with the bridge, but he was saved by his daughter who was also there.

Perceiving the dangerous situation her father was putting himself in, she managed to grab him by his coat tails and pulled him back as the bridge was beginning to give way. Several other smaller bridges also met the same fate, being swept away in the torrent.

On the other side of the Ochils, Blackford also suffered from the effects of the storm with similar events happening there.

It was not reported that any lives were lost.