My post of a day or two ago seems to have been quite popular and stirred up a few memories. As part of the blog promotion process I usually provide a link from my Facebook account and with The Winter of 1963 a number of comments from my friends has prompted me to take a very brief look back over some of the winters in my lifetime. Although we seem to remember there were many snowy days during our childhood, records show that the winters may have been colder but heavy snowfalls have remained few and far between. Probably snow in small doses was more frequent back then, but it’s only the blizzards we seem to be able to recall with ease.
Although there may have been one or two years of probable snow in the early 1950s I guess the first one I remember would have been the winter of 1956-57 when we had enough for Mum and Dad and their friends to go tobogganing on Heronstone Lane on a home-made sledge hastily constructed for the purpose, although they did this at night when we were safely tucked up in bed. I guess it’s the same snowfall that I was snapped in the garden in my wellingtons and the ubiquitous short trousers we boys all wore whatever the weather.
The next few years apparently saw very little snow, occasional flurries but nothing severe until December 1962 when late in the month the big freeze commenced. This is well documented and lasted for about four months with snow falling as late as April 1963. The snowfalls were not crippling like some other years but it was the severe cold that made this winter notable with many rivers and lakes freezing over completely as mentioned in my previous blog and as seen here with my brother and the neighbours sitting in the middle of the River Ogmore.
Snow occurred a few more times in the decade but nothing of any real significance but I do recall being snowed in at my place of work in 1968 and having to stay overnight in case it became too severe to get into work next morning. I did have colour slides of this snowfall at one time but they were borrowed in the 1970s and never returned.
The early 1970s saw very little snow in South Wales but when I was living in London I photographed solid ice on King’s Mere on Putney Heath in 1976 as seen here, and the following January of 1977 also had a little snow.
1978 and the blizzard in February was one of the major snowfalls of my lifetime and I shall talk about this in a future blog. Commencing in February it brought life to a standstill and roads were blocked for weeks.
January 1979 also saw another large snowfall, not as debilitating in South Wales as the previous year but enough for everything to grind to a halt for a day or two. I didn’t take quite so many photographs on this occasion, but I rather like this one looking down Newcastle Hill towards town.
Then there was 1982, another major fall which paralysed South Wales for days although other parts of Britain appear to have been let off with this one. I have a story prepared for this event which I’ll publish on 7th January, the anniversary of the blizzard.
There was more snow in 1984 but nothing significant again until 1994 when I recall heavy snow at Southerndown where I was living and remember taking my nephew tobogganing and coming off and bashing my knee – that was the last time I ever went sledging!
And so, into the 21st century when we had a little snow in the winters of 2003-4 and 2005-6. In December 2010 a significant snowfall a few days before Christmas meant for the first time I can recall we had snow on the ground on Christmas Day, although it’s quite likely I’ve forgotten any other White Christmas.
Now just in case you think I have an incredible memory, I have gleaned most of the dates from my own archive and also from an internet source.