In the news It’s the coldest winter on record since 1740
February 1963 was evidently not a good time to be taking a long car trip. Indeed, the entire period between January and April was a period when thousands of motorists regretted not having fifitted their cars with a heater. Birmingham’s canal network and the upper reaches of the river Thames froze solid – by the end of January, residents of Windsor could actually walk straight across the river – as did the sea for one mile off the coast of Kent. For many parts of England, this was the coldest winter since 1740 and meteorologists helpfully explained it was due to an anticyclone over Scandinavia drawing continental air from central Russia to the UK, combined with an easterly wind setting in before Christmas 1962. This news was glumly received by many as they contemplated a trip to the coal depot; in 1963, not many homes had central heating. Worse was to come, for after the Big Freeze came the Big Thaw... and floods.