Reportage

The Snow Fall in 1962

Record snowfall in the UK in 1962 and 1963…

SnowDrifts1962-63Retro Culturati finds himself peering out of the study window whilst considering making some tentative footsteps into the snowy village landscape outside. Here in England we have had our first snowfall of the 2014/15 winter and whilst it is hardly ski resort depth it is, for this country at least, fairly significant. How bad will it get one wonders? Will this blogger wake up tomorrow to scenes such as the one in the photograph? Perhaps not.

In December of 1962 and January of the following year Britain froze in one of its coldest winters on record. Indeed prior to that one had to go back as far as 1739-40 and further still for the worst in 1683-84 to beat it. With snow drifts of up to twenty feet in the South-West of England and Wales, New Years Eve celebrations took a back step as power cuts, abandoned cars, closed schools and restricted food supplies ground many parts of the country to a full stop. Add to it just about the coldest January ever recorded and the landscape would remain largely white for some two months to follow.

The fun of a snow fight and a day off from school or work quickly thawed as not only lakes and rivers froze but parts of the North Sea too and blizzards took hold once again in February causing further chaos across the country with another bout of twenty feet deep drifts. It proved deadly for livestock, cut off from their owners they froze and starved to death with temperatures in Scotland falling to as low as minus twenty two degrees centigrade.

It would be March of 1963 before the first frost free day would appear and with it the considerable thawing of the ice and water damage which ensued. How the cinema enthusiasts who had watched a short-sleeved Sean Connery ogle Ursulla Andress in the Caribbean heat of Dr No two months before must have wished they were Bond. But then, don’t we all?

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