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"The Big Freeze" 50 Yrs ago

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Paula+ Report 6 Jan 2013 20:57

I can remember it so well. I used to get two buses to work and there were none running over a period of a few days. I walked to work along with a some others with more joining as we went along, it was like the Pied Piper. We were young and it seemed like fun. My Mother had brought me some knee high boots but I refusd to spoil them and walked in my old zip up ones. When I arrived at my office the Chaiman came round and thanked the people who had struggled to get in, and sent memos out to the ones who lived close to work, who did not make the effort. If it were to happened today, you would not get me over the door step.

I also remember one time when we had very very bad fog & smog you literally could not see a hand in front of you, I was walking with a girl who lived near to me, and we walked past the the end of our street three times and laughed so much, everything just seemed so funny then. :-D :-D :-D


Cooper Report 6 Jan 2013 20:41

I don't remember the cold winter but my Mum did. I was tucked up nice and snug until the temperature started to rise a bit in March, and then I was born :-D

Teresa :-D :-D :-D


RolloTheRed Report 6 Jan 2013 19:49

Oh it wasn't that bad.

The trains mostly ran - we lived on the main LNER line into London and the heavy Pacific steam locos just got on with it. Buses ran ( no heaters that I ever noticed), even the GreenLine was ok. School was a bit chilly but we still had to take our coats off!

When I got home I really appreciated our old Edwardian house ( not that old at the time ) with a Rayburn, big Esse coal fire with a glass front and working fires in the bedrooms. One of these was lived in by our mother's help - poor thing she had all the coals to cart around. Warm and toasty anyway :-) The Koi carp were all frozen which was a shame.

lived near Herne Bay in the 1970s and the sea there (and at Sheerness) usually froze to some extent.

I remember that there were all sorts of problems with the funerals - too many stiffs, coffin shortage, ground too hard. Maybe that's when alternatives became more popular. Being young we thought it was funny.

For our elders who had survived the winter of 1946/7 it must have been very deja vue except coal available ( if you could pay for it ).

The worst thing was the smog, yuk and smoky public transport. The roads were chaos as no seat belts, poor tyres, dangerous windscreens and half the country had never sat a driving test ...

In central London the beer was still delivered using drays ( wagons with heavy horses ) so no problem with running out of beer. Out of London though no racing, no hunting and the gees gees got fat. Great for the foxes, less so for the chickens.

IMHO the winter of 1987/8 was far worse.


JustJohn Report 6 Jan 2013 14:36

You tend to forget how cold you were 50 years ago. Duvet with masses of togs seem nothing like as warm as 4 blankets on your bed.

And standing in front of a coal fire or elec fire was bliss. The heat went right through you. I get cold now with 23C constantly on thermostat and a 13.5 tog duvet. OH turns thermostat to 21 and I secretly put it back to 23 when she is out. Got away with it so far and only a few week left before the daffs are out and spring has sprung :-D :-D


VIVinHERTS Report 6 Jan 2013 14:20

I was nearly 6 and we had not long moved into a brand new council house. One coal fire to heat the the through lounge. My dad, being and electrician, fitted an electric fire in the bathroom. That was it - no central heating. Extra blankets and coats were piled onto our beds and we all had hot water bottles.

The builders had a shed next to our house and used to knock the door for fresh water to boil for their tea as their standpipe was frozen.

My mother took me to school everyday but the ice made the walk treacherous.I can still remember sliding and falling over on one bad corner which was on an incline.


Bernard Report 6 Jan 2013 14:15

I spent three weeks thawing out water pipes with a Generator. Some days I had problams to get home for snow drifts. Six AM untill nine PM most days.


JustJean Report 6 Jan 2013 14:08

I too remember it all, although I saw most of it out of the window of the maternity ward , I was in there for most of feb through to March waiting the arrival of my daughter, before I went into hospital I had been in bed at home , on doctors orders, having suffered three miscarriages, I was confined to bed,
I saw the snow come and go, she was born on the 1st of March, so that pleased my mother who was Welsh....and us too :-D :-D

Jean x


BarneyKent Report 6 Jan 2013 14:01

In East Kent it started snowing on Boxing Day. There was still snow piled up by the sides of the road at Easter. I had to drain the car radiator every night - the AA warned that anti-freeze may not work !!!!!!!!!!! .

Sport was decimated.

There were no National Hunt horse racing events between December 23rd and March 7th, 94 meetings were cancelled.

Coventry City should have played Lincoln City on 4th January in the FA Cup. The match was postponed 14 times. It was over two months later before Coventry finally won on March 6th.

I remember the sea freezing, my mate and I actually walked across the very uneven frozen ice at Whitstable.

The worst bit was trying to keep warm at night in the days before central heating. Everyone went to bed almost fully clothed. jumpers, socks, and extra blankets and overcoats over the bed. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr................


Merlin Report 6 Jan 2013 13:51

Brian, we were a Hardy lot then,just had to get on with it.


BrianW Report 6 Jan 2013 13:19

I was in the sixth form and the school was 6 or 7 miles away by bus.
The school stayed open and I don't recall a pupil or teacher not getting in.

Budgie Rustler

Budgie Rustler Report 6 Jan 2013 12:37

Greetings Harry,

nice to see you`re still knocking about on the boards matey.


Sharron Report 6 Jan 2013 12:31

Doing better than mine then.


Harry Report 6 Jan 2013 12:18

A camellia was then considered an exotic plant. I had bought one and it was covered in frost and ice.

A friend visited us and said that my plant had 'had it'. It is still going very well all this time later.

It's owner is not doing quite as well.

Happy days


Sharron Report 6 Jan 2013 11:44

Uncle Bill was working on the farm and they were delivering the milk and bread on the tractors.

There is one hamlet right down near the sea and when he took her bread to one woman she complained that it was not the one she had ordered!

I do remember the icicles hanging off the roof of the school corridor one winter,I think it was before this.The big boys were sent out with shovels to get the icicles down and we thought they were lovely to suck.

They were brown,the roof was asphalt,birds and probably rats walked about on that roof and every one of us lived!


maggiewinchester Report 6 Jan 2013 11:41

Mr Magoo, the first clip (Scotland 1963)was when we had a train service



MR_MAGOO Report 6 Jan 2013 11:17

This is 1960's............


MR_MAGOO Report 6 Jan 2013 11:12

I remember it too..........was so central heating just more coats on the bed :-(

Here's a video .....


maggiewinchester Report 6 Jan 2013 11:08

Oooh yes, I remember it well.

We (mum, dad & 4 children) were living in a smallish caravan in Lossiemouth - on the north east coast of Scotland :-| :-|

We woke up to find the snow covering the caravan, it was a few feet deep, wonderful insulaton. Only problem was, the toilet was outside, and caravan doors open outwards!!!
Being the youngest, (I was 6) I had a potty to use during the night - everyone else had to go outside. .........

Except they couldn't. :-S

Eventually we were dug out, and had a week off school :-D


AnninGlos Report 6 Jan 2013 10:52

Yes remember it very well, no central heating and a 14 month old baby. Luckily had a big coach built pram which was pushed/dragged to the shops to get food. But we survived.


Guinevere Report 6 Jan 2013 10:11

It was freezing over Christmas and into the New Year. We were with my grandparents in Wales and my dad rushed home straight after Christmas, afraid our house would freeze up - which it did.

He got it repaired by the time we got home, though.

Meanwhile in Wales my grandfather tore up old sheets to wrap around our boots so we didn't slide down the terrace when going to the shops.