History Articles - The Winter of 47

For six years I wrote a short history article in the monthly parish magazine, The Pelican.  One of the articles is shown in the column opposite.

Articles can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate title from the index below.

If anyone has any old photographs or parish information which they would like recorded (for present and future generations to share) then please get in touch with me.

    John Davison (Website Co-ordinator)
           Telephone: 01670 760609
      Email: jdavison26@btinternet.com

63   Dec 2011 We'll Weather the Weather
62   Nov 2011 Alan's Ackl'n Appearances
61   Oct 2011 Ackl'n Marriages 1913-14
60   Sep 2011 Old Photographs Required
59   Jul 2011 A Tower With A Tale To Tell
58   Jun 2011 A Well Kept Secret
57   May 2011 Fishy Business
56   Apr 2011 Acklington Warrior Stone
55   Mar 2011 The Church of St John
54   Feb 2011 Deep and Chrisp
53   Dec 2010 For Whom The Bell Tolls
52   Nov 2010 Which Village?
51   Oct 2010 A Pilot's Memories
50   Sep 2010 Acklington Black Poplar
49   Jul 2010 Street Names
48   Jun 2010 RAF Memorial
47   May 2010 Crowning Glory
46   Apr 2010 Badminton Club
45   Mar 2010 Murder On The Train
44   Feb 2010 Guyzance Tragedy
43   Dec 2009 Acklington Park
42   Nov 2009 Dye House (Part 2)
41   Sep 2009 Dye House (Part 1)
40   Jul 2009 History Making Heads
39   Jun 2009 Acklington Main Street
38   May 2009 James Raymond Smith
37   Apr 2009 The Age of Steam Trains
36   Mar 2009 Fred Wilson
35   Feb 2009 Guyzance School
34   Dec 2008 Acklington W.I.
33   Nov 2008 Lych Gate
32   Oct 2008 Village Hall Disaster
31   Sep 2008 Summer Crowds
30   Jul 2008 Spot The Differences
29   Jun 2008 Sunday School
28   May 2008 National Finalist
27   Apr 2008 What's in A Name
26   Mar 2008 Railway Inn
25   Feb 2008 Osprey
24   Dec 2007 The Guyzance 10
23   Nov 2007 Bowls Club
22   Oct 2007 Village Harvest
21   Sep 2007 Wedding Bliss
20   Jun 2007 The Other Acklington Artist
19   May 2007 The La'Well Tree
18   Apr 2007 The German Spy
17   Mar 2007 The Winter of 47
16   Feb 2007 Les Birkett's Memories
15   Jan 2007 Railway Station
14   Dec 2006 Jane Chapman
13   Nov 2006 Witches
12   Oct 2006 Jack Taylor
11   Sep 2006 Black Ralph
10   Aug 2006 School Photographs
09   Jul 2006 Pig Killings
08   Jun 2006 Village Hall Disaster
07   May 2006 Cricketers
06   Apr 2006 On Yer Bike
05   Apr 2006 Cricket
04   Mar 2006 Mailbag Robbery
03   Feb 2006 Storm of 1886
02   Jan 2006 Football
01   Dec 2005 Help Required

Sixty years ago this month, gales and heavy snowstorms brought havoc to our parish and indeed to the whole of the UK.  The winter of 1947 was undoubtedly one of the most severe winters on record and a weather event which will be etched into the memories of those who endured it. 

The temperatures in January of that year had been particularly cold.  Over the month as a whole, the highest temperature for England and Wales was around 14 °C, and the minimum was a numbing -21 °C. 

Easterly winds persisted throughout February, with only brief breaks in the cold snowy weather. Only twice in the month was the night minimum temperature above freezing. It was the coldest February on record.  In many parts of the country, snow fell on 26 days in the month. It was often light and powdery so it was easily whipped up into deep drifts that affected roads and the railway network. New ways were tried in order to clear them. One method was to mount jet-turbine engines on towed trailers and angle the hot-air outflow of the engines towards the ground; these were hugely effective in clearing the snow from roads but the underlying surface melted too, so the experiment was rather short-lived! 

If February hadn't been bad enough, March proved to be even worse. In the first half of the month, there were more gales and serious snowstorms.  On 4th and 5th March, heavy snow fell over most of England and Wales, with severe drifting. On 7th March, drifts were five metres deep in parts of our parish.  According to the Log Book for Acklington School, only a few village children were able to attend school during this period and the attendance figures were extremely low because “the scholars from the outlying areas of Morwick, Guyzance, Bankhouse and East House were unable to get to school, the roads being completely blocked all week.”  And it got even worse!  Yet more heavy snowstorms meant the school was forced to close from March 12th to March 17th when, according to the entry in the Log Book, “the village was isolated entirely.”  Acklington School did re-open on 17th March but it is no surprise to read that the week ending 21st March 1947 showed the “lowest week’s attendance on record.” 

Eventually the weather slowly improved.  Warmer air spread northwards and eastwards and by the end of March the worst of the winter weather was over…. just the flooding to contend with!

If there are any of our Pelican readers who were living in Acklington Parish during that epic winter, and who have memories or photographs of that historic event, I would be very pleased to hear from them.  Let’s get these memories down in print so that future generations will know what winters in days gone by were really like.  Now then, who is going to grumble about our weather today….?

                                                                 John Davison   01670 760609