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Winterwatch - The Big Freeze of 1963


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Old 19-01-2013, 22:58
Sad_BB_Addict
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Found an interesting article about the 1947 big freeze
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/we...ar-in-bed.html
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Old 19-01-2013, 23:02
JustMom
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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.
Yes I agree,the 1947 sticks in my memory far worse than 1963.
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Old 19-01-2013, 23:20
earthling13
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Yes I agree,the 1947 sticks in my memory far worse than 1963.
I was 7 in 1963 and remember it well and, as bad as it was, I've always been told 1947 was worse but this programme didn't reflect that at all.

In S London/Kent it was bad enough, although rural areas obviously had it much worse, but my school never closed and the only concession made was the boys could wear long instead of short trousers. I can't remember how us girls got by in our skirts but I guess we wore woollen tights or very long socks. I remember crates of frozen milk being brought in each morning and left by the radiators to defrost and teachers surprised that so many kids threw up!

As already mentioned, we didn't have all the lightweight, thermal fabrics that we have today. And most homes didn't have central heating or freezers so food had to be bought every 2 or 3 days.

Ice on the inside of the windows, wrapped in a blanket like a mummy before being put to bed, coats on top of the bed, home knitted balaclavas, even a muff! As kids we loved it!
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Old 19-01-2013, 23:45
JustMom
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I was 7 in 1963 and remember it well and, as bad as it was, I've always been told 1947 was worse but this programme didn't reflect that at all.

In S London/Kent it was bad enough, although rural areas obviously had it much worse, but my school never closed and the only concession made was the boys could wear long instead of short trousers. I can't remember how us girls got by in our skirts but I guess we wore woollen tights or very long socks. I remember crates of frozen milk being brought in each morning and left by the radiators to defrost and teachers surprised that so many kids threw up!

As already mentioned, we didn't have all the lightweight, thermal fabrics that we have today. And most homes didn't have central heating or freezers so food had to be bought every 2 or 3 days.

Ice on the inside of the windows, wrapped in a blanket like a mummy before being put to bed, coats on top of the bed, home knitted balaclavas, even a muff! As kids we loved it!

Yes,1963 was very bad,but I wish it had mentioned 1947.
My mother was very ill with cancer and my father still in the army...we were freezing as we had no coal,it's strange really,I was only 5 but I had to trail behind the coal lorry collecting all the stray coal that fell off.
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Old 20-01-2013, 00:00
SallyArmy
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I missed this but it looks really interesting, so I just downloaded it to watch tomorrow! Thanks!
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Old 20-01-2013, 00:22
boksbox
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I was 5 in 1963 thing I remember most from that winter and a few afterwards was chilblains, with no central heating there was rarely a time to get warm in the long weeks when the snow was on the ground.
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Old 20-01-2013, 00:32
loonattic
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Found an interesting article about the 1947 big freeze
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/we...ar-in-bed.html
quite interesting.seems as if theres a bit of an argument as to wether 47 or 63 was worse.
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Old 20-01-2013, 00:41
DavetheScot
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My parents were a few months off their wedding that winter. Oddly, neither of them can recall any extreme weather that winter at all!

It's funny how old documentaries like that always make me think of Harry Enfield's Mr Cholmondlaigh-Warner.
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Old 20-01-2013, 00:50
The Gatherer
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quite interesting.seems as if theres a bit of an argument as to wether 47 or 63 was worse.
I don't think there is an argument - although 63 was bad, I've always been led to believe that 47 was worse.
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Old 20-01-2013, 00:51
d'@ve
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quite interesting.seems as if theres a bit of an argument as to wether 47 or 63 was worse.
From memory (I was in my teens in '63 but my mum told me about '47) 1947 was snowier over the Country as a whole but 1963 was colder (and longer).

I'm surprised they didn't mention the three day freezing fog of January 1963, visibility was often no more than across the street, the maximum temperature (up in Manchester anyway) never exceeded minus 6 degrees C for 2 days and 3 nights, and trees/bushes were covered in rime (thick ice deposits) throughout - in fact that's my most spectacular memory of the Winter!

Kenneth Allsop's explanation of how and why it happened was a bit amateurish I have to say, he didn't seem to understand what he'd been told to explain! I enjoyed watching the archive programme though, memories, oh the memories!
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Old 20-01-2013, 06:41
Gill P
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Yes, it was the fact that it lasted longer in 1963 which sticks in the memory. I remember 1947 too. That was the year when we had impacted snow on the pavements for ages and when it melted we had a flood in Banbury High Street!
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Old 20-01-2013, 10:33
loonattic
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I don't think there is an argument - although 63 was bad, I've always been led to believe that 47 was worse.
debate rather than argument then.both a bit chilly anyway.
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Old 20-01-2013, 10:39
iaindb
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Winterwatch averaged an excellent 3m viewers last night beating the rubbish LE double-bill on BBC1 at the same time.

And it is available to watch on iPlayer for anyone who wishes they'd watched it but didn't.
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Old 20-01-2013, 13:15
BellaRosa
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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!
We don't cope!

Look at the small amount of snow we have had and everything/one is in panic mode. Think country is a joke.

The reason your parents may not have said anything is that it was just one of those things. You just had to get on with it.
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Old 20-01-2013, 13:57
Sam Solitude
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watch it this evening too...amazing footage, just a shame we didn`t have colour back then.


Snow in colour ?
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Old 20-01-2013, 14:03
THOMO
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I can remember in North East England where I have always lived, that the snow started on Boxing Day evening and I can't remember when it ended here in Gateshead. But I do no it seemed to go on for ever. But I can't remember any panic then, as there is now for whenever we get snow.
Ian.
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Old 20-01-2013, 14:37
stu0rt
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The most surprising thing for me is reading comments from folk who were there. You're clearly the same age as my mum yet you have a grasp of the net that she just can't get!

The presentation style was amusing. The explanation of the jet stream using 9 different hand-drawn pictures, and not explained very well at all; whereas today we'd have CGI and a well-known science presenter doing the job (maybe equally badly).

I know Cliff Mitchelmore is no longer around, but what of the others? I don't remember them from my youth but they must have been doing things I've seen.

I'm not old enough to remember the 60s but I do remember a bad few winters in the 70s (maybe 76) when the snow was several feet deep and we built an igloo out of snow-filled icecream tubs.

I also recall my dad digging a tunnel to get to work, and couldn't do anything when he got there because he was a bus driver.
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Old 20-01-2013, 15:04
U.R.Correct
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I can just about remember this. All the photos from that time have me in a balaclava. Dont remember having time off school tho'
They mentioned that the pipes froze and people couldnt do the washing up but no mention of what they did when the loo froze. We had an outside toilet and had a parafin lamp in there to stop it freezing
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Old 20-01-2013, 15:08
THOMO
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The most surprising thing for me is reading comments from folk who were there. You're clearly the same age as my mum yet you have a grasp of the net that she just can't get!

The presentation style was amusing. The explanation of the jet stream using 9 different hand-drawn pictures, and not explained very well at all; whereas today we'd have CGI and a well-known science presenter doing the job (maybe equally badly).

I know Cliff Mitchelmore is no longer around, but what of the others? I don't remember them from my youth but they must have been doing things I've seen.

I'm not old enough to remember the 60s but I do remember a bad few winters in the 70s (maybe 76) when the snow was several feet deep and we built an igloo out of snow-filled icecream tubs.

I also recall my dad digging a tunnel to get to work, and couldn't do anything when he got there because he was a bus driver.
I do remember Derek Heart, the younger man who was talking about the winter. I don't know whether he's still around. And the other man explaining the why the it happened in a very amateurish way was Kenneth Alsop who also regularly worked for the tonight programe and I can also remember him.
Ian.
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Old 20-01-2013, 15:12
THOMO
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I can just about remember this. All the photos from that time have me in a balaclava. Dont remember having time off school tho'
They mentioned that the pipes froze and people couldnt do the washing up but no mention of what they did when the loo froze. We had an outside toilet and had a parafin lamp in there to stop it freezing
We where lucky and had an inside toilet then. But I know alot of my friends who had an outside toilet. We where quite lucky then.
Ian.
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Old 20-01-2013, 15:15
Galaxy266
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I was aged 11 in 1963 and remember the big freeze very well. However, I can't remember our school ever being closed, and we had to go in every day. It was only about a 10 minute walk and I believe that, in those days, most of the teachers lived fairly locally and could, if necessary, walk to work, too.

I can remember my parents telling me that the 1947 freeze was much worse.
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Old 20-01-2013, 15:40
able1
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The most surprising thing for me is reading comments from folk who were there. You're clearly the same age as my mum yet you have a grasp of the net that she just can't get!

The presentation style was amusing. The explanation of the jet stream using 9 different hand-drawn pictures, and not explained very well at all; whereas today we'd have CGI and a well-known science presenter doing the job (maybe equally badly).

I know Cliff Mitchelmore is no longer around, but what of the others? I don't remember them from my youth but they must have been doing things I've seen.

I'm not old enough to remember the 60s but I do remember a bad few winters in the 70s (maybe 76) when the snow was several feet deep and we built an igloo out of snow-filled icecream tubs.

I also recall my dad digging a tunnel to get to work, and couldn't do anything when he got there because he was a bus driver.
Good old Cliff Michelmore is still alive and is 93.

Here he is interviewing one well spoken 17 year old, David Jones - soon to be David Bowie -about growing your hair long.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS2ZNZzooQk

Kenneth Allsop sadly overdosed in 1973 aged 53.
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Old 20-01-2013, 15:44
mazzy50
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I was aged 11 in 1963 and remember the big freeze very well. However, I can't remember our school ever being closed, and we had to go in every day. It was only about a 10 minute walk and I believe that, in those days, most of the teachers lived fairly locally and could, if necessary, walk to work, too.

I can remember my parents telling me that the 1947 freeze was much worse.
I think that is a huge part of the problem now. With the advent of almost universal car ownership, many people now live a significant car journey away from their place of work or school, so it is no longer a question of just getting your boots on, setting out a bit earlier and walking.

I do wonder whether things would be better from a commuting, general health, local community and lifestyle viewpoint if more of us lived within walking distance of our work and schools.
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Old 20-01-2013, 15:54
Glenn A
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My mother remembers the big freeze of 1963. It started around the new year and lasted until the first week of March.
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Old 20-01-2013, 16:02
d'@ve
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Who would have thought then, when we first called it The Big Freeze, that we'd still be calling it that 60 years later - and most people would still know what we are talking about!

But everything about that Winter was just amazing. For example, there was a sequence of about ten consecutive days in mid January when the air temperature stayed continuously below freezing point day and night over most of England. Now that was COLD!
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