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Article Big Freeze

It has been a tad chilly these last few days and nights after our mostly mild December.

It had me thinking back to the worst winter I can vaguely remember in 1962/3. I was born in 1955 so can see people queuing at stand pipes for water as the pipes in the houses were frozen.

There are no photos that I can reproduce on here as they are copyrighted, but I have a couple of videos for you to look back on and also some links to some photos and a bigger description of the winter. The lead photograph is a free download of a more recent winter in Vancouver..

Winter 1962 by 1962 Rebel 


The Big Freeze 1963 by Zulqar Cheema

This link takes you to the ten worst winters to date in Britain. You have to go back as far as 1684 for the very worst of all! Wikipedia gives an insight into the weeks and months once the freeze took hold.  The Google Big Freeze page has many photos to look at. I am sure some more memories will come flooding back and maybe you could comment at the end of the article? I wish I could remember more. I do know that it was very cold!

I asked on Facebook for members to comment on their own memories and I would like to share them with you below.

Margaret Dent: Have no photos but was living in Bournemouth at the time the house was frozen up no water the toilets would not flush it lasted six weeks it showed on snow we had to move to a central heated flat sheet joy to get into a bit bath even the sea froze .so many homes froze up because a lot if houses had outside pipes and they were not used to such severe weather in Bournemouth.

Georgia Hill: Mum has a b/w photo of me, aged 2 and my older brother standing on the front step. I'm clearly shaking with cold and there's a pile of snow as high as my head next to me. The family home had an incredibly steep drive so I assume we were housebound.

Mary Goddard: I was 16 and a Post Office telephonist in Horley. The main problem at work was when the thaw started and the underground cables were flooded. Not many phones were working for a while.

My friend and I used to go to Crawley to meet our boyfriends. I remember the two of us standing at the bus stop wearing slingback shoes in deep snow! My mother told me that I should get some boots, but my response was 'Boots are for old people!'. A couple of years later boots were fashionable.

Paul Burton: No pictures but living in Chingford Essex. My best friend's dad went off to work in thick freezing fog on his motorcycle and sidecar. Never returned!! They found his body slumped over the motorcycle the next morning. Died of a heart attack!

Frances Light: Oh no Paul, who was That?

Paul Burton: Colin Smith's dad along Beech hall road. He was only in his forties!

Carolyn Soutar:At school. I was 9, in Hammersmith. We were sent home early. Big news.

Pat Wilson: Erm, Khartoum?! Had a pretty freezing winter 1963 in Baghdad.

Brenda Briggs: I was 15, living in Croydon Surrey. I remember having to walk to work.

Erica Pugh: At High School in Southport overlooking Royal Birkhall Golf course. Wouldn't let us play out in the snow!!

Margaret Dent: Hot bath

Derek Coles: The snow was higher than the dining room window in South Wales where I was living at the time. Had to walk to Ebbw Vale steelworks over the mountain into the next valley. Work for eight hours then walk home. Hard times.

Tricia Palin Neville: I was 13 and living in Harrow, living above a shop that we had moved into a fortnight ago. The businesses regularly kept the pavements clear and the Council cleared the roads. The result was an ever increasing wall of snow (higher than me) between road and pavement with a few gaps left for crossing. Dad lost the dog through one of these gaps when he saw a cat in the road. A car went over him, but he ran off, leaving a bloodstain in the road. Dad spent the evening tramping through the snow calling the dog but came back frozen and unsuccessful. After a couple of days, after we had all given up hope, Dad was in the kitchen when he heard whimpering. He opened the door and the dog shot indoors. He was very cold and hungry, but his wound was slight and only needed to be powdered with some stuff from the vet. We were baffled how he found his way back. In our fortnight in our new flat, we had never climbed the steep iron steps at the back as they were icy and treacherous, and yet the dog had found his way up there to the back door.

Jacqui Edwards: In my mother's tummy ;) x

Janette Christine Davies: Just left school and started first job, but I did go every day. Got the 8 0'clock bus and arrived about quarter to ten!!

Sheila Khan: Don't remember much. I was 16 and all I can remember is a lot of snow.

Rosemary Ann Smith: I was home for Christmas in Exmouth, and couldn't get back to Bristol where I worked, as the railway lines were piled with snow! Remember it well.

So as I type this, it is very cold and frosty outside. Will the big freeze of 1962/3 be repeated?


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Hi, my name is Janice and I am the founder of stands for Optimistic and ProActive Seniors Chat. OAPSchat was born in April 2013 as a Facebook page. To date there are over 1460 FB likes. It was in November 2013 that I decided I had enough material and confidence to launch the website.

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