The Long Winter 1962-3

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright December 2020, Julian Paren; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.

The Long Winter 1962-63


The introduction by Geoffrey Moorhouse to a Guardian pamphlet with the title The Long Winter 1962-63 (price 6d) says

BY any standard the winter of 1962-3 was one of the hardest Great Britain has ever had. It has been reckoned that in the Midlands, which didnít have the worst of it, there has been nothing comparable since 1740. Even the most conservative estimates for the country as a whole conclude that it was the coldest since 1829-30. It was a winter in which cars were driven across the Thames, pack ice formed a quarter of a mile outside Whitstable Harbour, a family was marooned on a Dartmoor farm for 66 days. It killed at least 49 people. And though its economic effects were not as severe as those of 1946-7, public transport was several times brought to a standstill, and the January power crisis was grave enough to provoke an emergency meeting of the Cabinet. It was a winter to remember.

The winter weather of note started on December 26 1962 and ended its devastation on March 7 1963 when after the first night frost-free across the UK, floods again required evacuations of vulnerable communities. The long winter had lasted eleven weeks.

The winter on Geograph

NT4936 : Winter 1963 in the High Road, Galashiels by Mary Dalgetty Baxter
This photo copied from a Kodachrome slide and taken by my mother shows my father trying to clear the path to the house. About three feet of snow has fallen but the Ford Consul is safely tucked away inside the underground garage. LS was the old registration plate for Selkirkshire. For a similar view (without snow) taken 46 years later in March 2009, see NT4936 : A semi-detached house in High Road, Galashiels.
by Mary Dalgetty Baxter

So, what is the record of this winter on Geograph? It is a surprise to find so few images of ice or snow or floods of this momentous winter. A number of images on Geograph are just dated 1963 or better the month may be indicated, eg March 1963, but very few are more precise than that. What is the surprise that even when the dates are January or February 1963 there are few which give the impression that the winter was in any way exceptional. No doubt because few ventured forth from the comfort of their homes and transport generally was suffering.

In introducing the Geograph Collection of images from this period, I have limited the number of railway engines by Ben Brooksbank which do not show environmental conditions. I am hopeful that there are older folk among us who have slides/prints or negatives that can be processed to make this collection of winter weather more complete.

For my own part, the deepest memory of the winter exists without any of the images I may have taken surviving. From January 11 to 13 I camped on the side of Cairngorm at the site of the car park for the ski-lift and spent 12 January on the Cairngorm plateau, climbing Cairngorm and getting a frost-bitten cheek into the bargain. According to the weather data in the Guardian pamphlet, 12/13 was the coldest January night in Edinburgh and possibly for the whole winter. A few days later the minimum temperature at Braemar was -22.6 C on January 18. Frost indeed!

More about the 1962-3 Winter

The idea of this Collection came from the reshowing of a documentary on BBC TV on the 1962-63 winter, and some (I believe) unsubstantiated accounts that we are due a very harsh winter in 2020-2021. The documentary is available through December 2020 here.External link

The Guardian pamphlet is available second hand from a number of sources for around £5.
It can be accessed in full as a PDF from [url= LinkExternal link]. It is a fascinating account of the period. Enjoy!

If you wish to best appreciate the images, click at the base of the page on images used on this page and choose the Georiver option for obtaining both figure captions and screen-filling images.

SP7970 : Holcot village across Pitsford reservoir causeway by Frederick William Beaver SP2530 : On A44 near Little Compton, after the Great Freeze of 1963 by Ben Brooksbank SP2332 : On the A44 east of Moreton-in-Marsh, after Great Freeze of 1963 by Ben Brooksbank SE1208 : Hillock Farm Upperthong, 1963 by Chris Moorman SP1532 : On the A44 west of Bourton-on-the Hill, after the Great Freeze of 1963 by Ben Brooksbank NO3375 : Loch Brandy with a four inch covering of ice by Elliott Simpson TQ6679 : Rainbow Shaw, 1963 by Robin Webster SU6085 : Cholsey Marsh 1963 by Bill Nicholls SJ9319 : Deptmore (Deepmoor) Lock by Tony Pendleton NS3360 : Winter walk at High Linthills by Alan Reid SU1561 : Bristow Bridge by Gordon Hatton SU1461 : Kennet & Avon Canal in the big freeze by Gordon Hatton SU1683 : The Lawn Lower Lake by Gordon Hatton SD8731 : Ormerod House - cleared snow and resident by Richard Johnson SD8731 : Snow clearance - Ormerod House driveway by Richard Johnson SD8731 : Winter, 1962-63 - Snow clearance, top of Ormerod House driveway by Richard Johnson SD8730 : Old farm at Overtown in deep snow by Richard Johnson SO2522 : Cwm Milaid, winter 1962/63 by Jean McCann SU9677 : Barry Avenue Windsor by Alan hodgson TQ5303 : The Street Under Snow by Peter Jeffery NH0125 : The Falls of Glomach by Julian Paren

ST5774 : Short signal at Clifton Down station by Richard Green SY4690 : West Bay station in  1963 by Richard Green SY4792 : Bridport East Street station by Richard Green ST7464 : Bath Green Park station in 1963 by Richard Green TL4903 : North Weald Station, January 1963 by George Causley SJ8398 : LMS Fowler 4F 0-6-0 passing Manchester Exchange by Ben Brooksbank SJ5974 : Liverpool - Birmingham express passing Acton Bridge station in the snow by Ben Brooksbank SD7108 : Up empties train entering Bolton Trinity Street in the snow by Ben Brooksbank SJ6371 : Hartford Station, in mid-winter by Ben Brooksbank SJ8399 : West end of Manchester Victoria Station, 1962 by Ben Brooksbank ST6243 : Charlton Road viaduct, Shepton Mallet by Richard Green ST7022 : The 12:00 for Bournemouth leaving Templecombe by Richard Green ST6416 : The 11:14 up arrives at Sherborne by Richard Green

Urban environment
NT4936 : The High Road, Galashiels, 1963 by Mary Dalgetty Baxter SO8932 : Frozen River Avon by Peter Randall-Cook SO8933 : Frozen River Avon by Peter Randall-Cook SO8932 : Frozen River Avon by Peter Randall-Cook SO8932 : Frozen River Avon by Peter Randall-Cook SD7152 : Slaidburn Youth Hostel by Humphrey Bolton SU7682 : The Copper Kettle in Thameside by Antony Ewart Smith SO8932 : Frozen River Avon by Peter Randall-Cook SO8932 : Frozen River Avon by Peter Randall-Cook SU3613 : Batts Corner, Totton by John Lucas TQ2789 : High Road, East Finchley, after heavy snow, New Year's Eve 1962 by Ben Brooksbank TQ2691 : Northward up High Road North Finchley at Tally-Ho Corner, after heavy snowfall, 1962 by Ben Brooksbank TQ3119 : Christmas Snow by Peter Jeffery TQ2907 : Peacock Lane Under Snow by Peter Jeffery NT4936 : Winter 1963 in the High Road, Galashiels by Mary Dalgetty Baxter NT4936 : A view down the Gala Water in 1963 by Mary Dalgetty Baxter SE1127 : February 1963 Yew Trees Avenue, Northowram by David Dobson TQ3008 : Snow and a Cyclist by Peter Jeffery SE1539 : Lane End, Baildon, after snowfall in January 1963 by Humphrey Bolton SP1925 : YHA hostel Stow on the Wold by norman griffin SP1925 : Stocks in Stow on the Wold by norman griffin SP1925 : Stow market square by norman griffin NT4936 : Winter 1963 in Galashiels by William Baxter

You are not logged in login | register