This week’s cold snap has nothing on the winter of 1947.
That year, the winter was one of the coldest on record, and brought postwar Britain to a standstill. From late January until mid March, easterly winds drove a succession of snowstorms across the UK – resulting in what was believed to have been the snowiest winter since the mid-19th century. Six weeks of snow, which began on January 23, led to thousands of people being cut off by snowdrifts.
As the UK was recovering from the effects of the Second World War, the armed forces were called upon to clear roads and railways of snowdrifts that were up to seven metres deep in places. According to the records, snow fell every day somewhere in the UK for a run of 55 days. Because the temperature on most days barely exceeded freezing, much of the snow settled.
In Blackpool, as pictured here, workmen had to dump snow cleared from the roads of the Fylde, on to Blackpool beach.
Similar scenes had also been witnessed seven years earlier. The harsh winter of 1940 was characterised by cold and penetrating frosts and considerable snowfall, it was the coldest for 45 years. This scene, taken in a Blackpool street in 1940, shows how clearing the snow was everyone’s job before they could get out. And workmen can be seen clearing snow near the Miners Home, in Bispham.
A snow-covered Stanley Park is also shown on our archive photographs.
The snow brought transport to a standstill in 1981, as shown in our snap of a stranded tram coming to an unofficial stop. Stewart Fink of Finks jewellers, Church Street, is pictured that same winter – clearing a way for customers in the town centre. And a picture taken from the balcony of the Winter Gardens shows a snowy Church Street, in 1952.