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Winterwatch - The Big Freeze of 1963


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Old 19-01-2013, 18:42
Sad_BB_Addict
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Chris Packham introduces an archive BBC documentary
The Big Freeze of 1963
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...he_Big_Freeze/
Trivia - Designer was Ridley Scott.

I was 14 and we loads of days off school!
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Old 19-01-2013, 18:46
petely
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it was interesting to see that the same things they were complaining about then were exactly the same problems we have today
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Old 19-01-2013, 18:50
Mitten Kitten
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I hadn't been born. Looks as if it was a mix of horrendous and fun. I can't say that I have ever heard the family talk about it and considering it went on for 2 months, I am surprised. My parents had been married a couple of years. I must ask about it. I wonder how we would cope nowadays with power cuts, lack of transport etc for that length of time. One day of shops shutting on Christmas day induces panic buying!
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Old 19-01-2013, 18:54
Mystic Dave
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Usual bellyaching, blaming the Govt, bankers, immigrants etc. I expect! I was less than 1 and was put in my pram at the end of the garden in my teddy bear suit - I can still cope with cold and not with heat to this day.
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Old 19-01-2013, 18:55
F1Ken
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I hadn't been born. Looks as if it was a mix of horrendous and fun. I can't say that I have ever heard the family talk about it and considering it went on for 2 months, I am surprised. My parents had been married a couple of years. I must ask about it. I wonder how we would cope nowadays with power cuts, lack of transport etc for that length of time. One day of shops shutting on Christmas day induces panic buying!
Funnily enough I was born 9 months after that happened!

Hmmmmm? I wonder why!?

I would have done the same! And dealt with the consequences later!

Ken
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Old 19-01-2013, 19:03
Spot
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I started school in January 1963, and was there one day before we got sent tome because the toilets had frozen! Although i think that was the only time I had off for snow in my entire time at school.

Fascinating documentary, but rather odd for it to be shown under the Winterwatch title, as the wildlife angle was only really brought in afterwards. It would have sat perfectly well on its own either on BBC2 or on BBC4. I'm sure there are lots of old factual programmes like this which could be shown and would be of great interest.
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Old 19-01-2013, 19:07
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I was 15 and working as a plumbers mate--lots of burst pipes to mend.
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Old 19-01-2013, 19:17
Muggsy
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I started school in January 1963, and was there one day before we got sent tome because the toilets had frozen! Although i think that was the only time I had off for snow in my entire time at school.

Fascinating documentary, but rather odd for it to be shown under the Winterwatch title, as the wildlife angle was only really brought in afterwards. It would have sat perfectly well on its own either on BBC2 or on BBC4. I'm sure there are lots of old factual programmes like this which could be shown and would be of great interest.
I was 9 that winter and although I remember trudging to school and back through heavy snow for weeks and weeks, I don't remember school being closed. However, as all the loos were outside, on the opposite side of the playground from the school building, they must have been frozen so I can't see how the school could have remained open.
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Old 19-01-2013, 19:24
Parker45
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I remember it well. Everyone got fed up with the constant freezing weather. It seemed as if it was never going to end. These extremes of weather have always occurred but today people leap on them as evidence of global warming. I
also remember the devastating eastern England floods of 1953 - fortunately there's been nothing like that since.
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Old 19-01-2013, 20:06
Iggyman
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Fascinating 1963 documentary - nice to see it complete.
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Old 19-01-2013, 20:09
Hotgossip
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I was 10 and at primary school. This was before thermal clothes, padded coats and warm boots. Tights hadn't even been invented then so your legs got freezing just in kneesocks and your skin resembled marble.

Our school was about a mile away and I can't remember it being closed once. The toilets were perishing cold and all the pipes had newspaper and bits of sacking tied around them to stop them freezing.

The school had no heating other than a stove in each room which had a metal guard round it where the teacher used to stand and warm her backside.

Home wasn't much better, just an open fire which you had to huddle around and ever such cold bedrooms and bathroom.
We used to put our school clothes under the sheets so that they'd be a bit warmer in the morning.

I remember the wind howling for hours along with the heavy snow and it did seem like it would never end.
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Old 19-01-2013, 20:24
Cressida
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My husband remembered it. He said it all started on Boxing Day so he and his family weren’t able to go to his aunties for tea. His auntie later told them his cousin ate all the cakes and ate so many he was sick!
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Old 19-01-2013, 21:08
zippydoodah
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The most interesting thing for me was at the end of the documentary and how they said lessons hadn't been learnt from the last major snowfall. I.E. Gritting / Snow ploughs etc. Well 40 years on, it stilll isn't better!
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Old 19-01-2013, 21:28
able1
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The most interesting thing for me was at the end of the documentary and how they said lessons hadn't been learnt from the last major snowfall. I.E. Gritting / Snow ploughs etc. Well 40 years on, it stilll isn't better!
It's no better fifty years on either
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Old 19-01-2013, 21:48
JustMom
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I was 19 and went into labour in the january ,there was deep snow it was freezing cold and we had a power cut.....
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Old 19-01-2013, 21:58
GloriaSnockers
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I'm another who wasn't born until the following summer (I expect there are quite a few of us!), but I found it fascinating watching, if a bit harrowing at times (the idea of people suffocating in their cars while stuck in snowdrifts etc). It's hard to imagine even the sea freezing over.

I noticed too how the complaints after the event sounded just the same as they do today! As for having to wait three weeks sometimes for the rubbish to be collected, I thought that was normal
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Old 19-01-2013, 22:18
zippydoodah
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It's no better fifty years on either
Thanks for correcting me. Didn't realise my maths was that bad!
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Old 19-01-2013, 22:19
kernow1953
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I was 10 and I seem to have been unlucky compared to some previous posters, because my school here in Cornwall never closed. It was a relatively new building and had indoor toilets, so no plumbing problems. Although 50 years ago I think in some ways we coped better then. Possibly because people like my parents had lived through the war, they were used to hardships and just got on with life the best they could.
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Old 19-01-2013, 22:32
Gill P
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I certainly remember it. We were living in Harold Hill, Essex, at the time and went to the in-laws in Dagenham for Christmas. I was expecting my daughter at the time and she was due in the first week of January so we decided to go home on Boxing Day. Of course the snow came and it was quite an adventure driving home.

I was due to have the baby at home (you did in those days) and she decided she wanted to be born on New Year's Eve - a week early! By this time the snow was very deep and when my husband called the midwife she had to drive from Romford which was a bit hairy for her. She was sliding all over the place. Anyway, all was well and the baby arrived safely - she is now 50!

I will never forget that year - I haven't celebrated New Year since as you cannot top NYE 1962!

By the way we still had snow in our front garden at Easter!
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Old 19-01-2013, 22:35
ganderpoke66
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Ah yes, 1963, my anus horriblis, trudging to school inside my big sister's duffel coat 5 sizes too big, hairy, itchy socks, short trousers, balaclava, and big wellies, I had chilblains the size of Jerusalem Artichokes all winter.

The schools were open all winter and we walked to school and back home again, on our own.
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Old 19-01-2013, 22:45
Eurostar
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I believe the big freeze of 1947 was the worst one of the lot : the UK and Ireland (and the rest of Europe) experienced Arctic like conditions lasting three months.

In both 1947 and 1963, the freeze up came from the East, as is happening right now.
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Old 19-01-2013, 22:46
Andy2
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I was nine years old and remember it well. The roads were caked in packed snw and ice and the buses stopped running. Cars crept around at little more than walking pace and as most lads my age wore short trousers we all ended up with painful chapped thighs.
It seemed to go on forever, but our school stayed open.
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Old 19-01-2013, 22:49
THOMO
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I remember it very well, and I was 11 then. I remember it was the days before central heating and the pipes froze in our house quite a few times. Luckily they never burst.
Ian.
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Old 19-01-2013, 22:51
zx50
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I've recorded this. I think it'll be brilliant to watch. For anyone who likes watching documentaries on extreme weather (specifically snow), it should be very enjoyable.
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Old 19-01-2013, 22:52
hooter
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Fascinating 1963 documentary - nice to see it complete.
watch it this evening too...amazing footage, just a shame we didn`t have colour back then.
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