Updated 16 May 2011

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Weather 1600-1900

This list of weather was extracted from the fascinating website at:
with the permission of the author Martin Rowley of Bracknell BRK.

1604-1616: (Summers):
1. Series of DRY summers.
1607/1608: (Winter):
1. The 'Great Winter', when trees died of frost, and ships were stranded by ICE several miles out into the North Sea.
1630-1637: (Summers):
1. Series of DRY/WARM summers.
1648: (Summer):
1. A 'poor' summer.
1. Three of the five winters from late 1662 to early 1667 were COLD with SEVERE FROST. It is claimed that skating was introduced into England (from Holland?) during the winter of 1662/63 and that the King watched this new sport on the frozen Thames.
1665: (mid/late winter to spring):
1. COLD/DRY winter & a DRY spring. Thought to be a factor in the outbreak of the 'Great Plague' later that year due with ideal conditions for breeding rats.
1665/1666: (November to September):
1. Every month from November 1665 to September 1666 was DRY. By August, 1666, the River Thames at Oxford was reduced to a 'trickle'. This DROUGHT was a large contributory factor in the 'Great Fire of London' (q.v.). [ A rainy spell started just after the Fire...9th by the old calendar, and there was PROLONGED/HEAVY RAIN for 10 days early in October 1666. ] The DRYNESS extended to Scotland, at least from May to mid-July.
1666: (September 2nd-5th): THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON
1. A possible 'weather link' as the prevailing weather was noted as 'HOT & DRY', and strong east Winds during the fire caused great problems with fire-fighting. On the 2nd (the first day of the fire), a 'strong' east wind is noted - Evelyn notes this as a "Fierce" eastern wind in a VERY DRY season. It is not clear though whether the wind was caused by the fire, or was there anyway. However, Evelyn does note that there had been a...."long set of fair and warm weather". On September 4th, Evelyn still notes: "The eastern wind still more impetuously driving the flames forward." Later on the 5th, the wind is noted as 'abating' -- again not certain whether this was due to the fire burning itself out. In any case, this was effectively the end of the Great Fire.
1683/1684 (Winter):
1. One of the four or five COLDEST WINTERS over the British Isles, and the COLDEST in the CET record. (LW/Manley -'Weather'). The GREAT FROST of 1683/84 was claimed to be the longest on record, the Thames in London was completely frozen for about two months and the ICE was reported to be some 11 inches (converts to 28cm) thick. This was the winter described so vividly by R.D. Blackmore in 'Lorna Doone'. Near Manchester, the ground was FROZEN to a depth of 27 inches and in Somerset to more than 4 feet. [ See also 1739/40; 1813/14 and 1962/63. ](Technically, this winter was the COLDEST in the series, but series at this time is noted to the nearest 0.5degC only).
1685/1686 (Winter):
1. One of the WARMEST winters (by CET) in the series which began in 1659. Up to 1997, rank=5 Value=6.33; Dec=6.5, Jan=6.5, Feb=6.0 (Others: 1734, 1796, 1834, 1869, 1935, 1975, 1989 and 1990.)
1690-99: (Decade/Winters):
1. 6 out of 10 winters defined as 'SEVERE' in the CET series. That is, CET mean temperature value for the months December, January and February, below 3.0 degC.
1692: (Summer):
The summer of 1692 was exceedingly WET and rather COLD and was stated to be the worst summer since 1648.
1694/95: (Winter/early spring):
1. A SEVERE winter. December 1694 - FROST/SNOW started in London on 25th. At Oxford, frost began around 28th (new style calendar). January 1695 - Fairly general 'severe' conditions. Thames frozen on 23rd and by the 30th, FROST/ continual SNOW had lasted for 5 weeks in London. February 1695 - Deep SNOW after heavy falls 8th/9th. More snow end of month London area. March 1695 - further 'significant' SNOWFALL. April 1695 - SEVERE FROST/HEAVY SNOW continuing well into the latter part of the month.
1696/1697 (Winter):
1697: (Autumn):
1. A VERY COLD season. FROSTS sharp/severe in November, with rivers in Netherlands were blocked unseasonably early (even for those cold times). Fall of SNOW in the London area on the 24th November. Remaining COLD/SLEET/SNOW to the end of the month.
1697/1698: (Winter):
1. SEVERE WINTER. Using the monthly mean values of CET, all three winter months (Dec, Jan & Feb) can be classified as 'VERY COLD'; that is December 2.5degC; January 0degC and February 0.5degC, giving a seasonal mean of 1.0degC (NB: series only to nearest half degree C at this point in the record). In comparision with the 1961-90 long period average, this represents an anomaly -3.1 degC.
1700: (onwards):
1. Generally acknowledged to be the (rough) start of the warming to current benign conditions after the depths of the LIA.
1703: (26/27 November [ old-style calendar ]: 'GREAT BRITISH STORM'
1. Possibly a rejuvinated Atlantic hurricane, this storm produced estimated winds reaching 120mph/104 knots. There was apparently little rain. On the south Wales coast, a TIDAL SURGE drove up the Bristol Channel, leaving the port of Bristol in ruins, and the hinterland under water. Considerable STRUCTURAL DAMAGE occurred across England & Wales, with large loss of standing timber (much as 1987/Oct). The Eddystone lighthouse (newly built) was destroyed, and its designer/builder was killed as he was on site at the time. The storm dealt a severe blow to Merchant and Royal Navy shipping in the Channel and along the English east coast. For the latter, over 1000 seamen were killed, including many senior RN personnel, and 15 ships. (England was then at war with France). Estimates of total loss of life are around 8000, which makes it much worse than the October 1987 event. The depression approached SW England and move across Wales to Yorkshire, with widespread southwesterly SEVERE GALES on the 26th, and a rearward surge of strength affected the eastern English Channel during the early hours of the 27th.
1708/1709: (Winter):
1. COLD/SEVERE winter, by CET series. (1.2 degC)
1714: (Annual):
1. The year 1714 was outstandingly DRY, the annual RAINFALL at Upminster, Essex was 11.25inches (around 280mm) which is about half-average in modern times. (These low values were not beaten until 1921 q.v.)
1715/1716: (Winter):
1. COLD/SEVERE winter, by CET series. (0.8 degC).
1716: (Annual):
1. The Thames so low that people walked under the arches of London Bridge.
1725: (Summer):
1. Notably COLD by CET series.
1731 (Autumn):
1. Persistently WARM period September to November.
1733/1734 (Winter):
1. One of the WARMEST winters (by CET) in the series which began in 1659. Up to 1997, rank=9 Value=6.10; Dec=7.6, Jan=4.3, Feb=6.4 (Others: 1686, 1796, 1834, 1869, 1935, 1975, 1989 and 1990.)
1735: (January):
1. The west-south-westerly GALE of 8th January, 1735 was the most violent since the destructive storm of November 1703. The DAMAGE in London was considerable, several houses were destroyed, practically every street was covered with tiles, and 36 trees were uprooted in St.James' Park.
1737: (early Summer):
1. Persistently WARM period May to July.
1739/1740 (Winter):
1. One of the four or five COLDEST WINTERS in the CET record. See also 1683/84; 1813/14 and 1962/63. (Officially the *second* coldest). A hard, prolonged FROST, a violent easterly GALE, which was accompanied by SNOW, did considerable damage on 29th and 30th December, 1739.
1739/1740 (Winter):
1. One of the four or five COLDEST WINTERS in the CET record. See also 1683/84; 1813/14 and 1962/63. (Officially the second coldest). A hard, prolonged FROST; a violent easterly GALE, which was accompanied by SNOW, did considerable damage on 29th and 30th December, 1739.
1740-1743: (Four years):
1. One of the worst DRY SPELLS of the 18th century.
1740: (Spring):
1. Following the winter (q.v.), a notably COLD spring by CET series.
1740: (Annual):
1. COLDEST year in the CET record by a good margin.
1741: (Autumn):
1. Fine, WARM weather was prolonged.
1762: (late Spring/early Summer):
1. Fine, WARM or VERY WARM weather - prolonged from April to July.
1765/66: (Winter):
1. A prolonged and COLD winter from November to February.
1768: (Annual):
1. The second WETTEST year in the EWP series, with 1247mm of RAIN. See also 1872, 1852 and 1960.
1773/1774: (Autumn+Winter+early Spring):
1. September 1773 to February 1774. By the EWP series, and relating to the 1961-1990 averages, all months were above average, total RAINFALL this period=688mm [average=508mm], which represents 135%. None of the months exceptionally wet, but enough, with the events noted at 2., to cause significant problems in the early spring.
2. March 1774: worst FLOOD of the 18th century along the Thames Valley. Deep FROST > frozen ground, HEAVY SNOW then a rapid THAW with HEAVY RAIN > FLOODS. A bridge near Maidenhead was severely damaged by flood-water and many other properties/areas in the valley were severely affected. 12th March was the nominal high point of the FLOOD.
1775: (late Spring):
1. Fine, WARM weather prolonged through April, May and June.
1779: (January - March):
1. The first three months of this year were exceptionally DRY by the EWP series. January 1779 was the 3rd driest January in that series, February 8th driest, and March 7th driest. In all, under 20% of the average RAINFALL was assessed by the EWP set. [ NB: the winter 1778/79 was also MILD, which is unusual, because we have become used to mild winters/early spring=wet seasons.]
1779: (early Spring):
1. Fine, WARM weather prolonged through February, March and April.
1779: (late Summer/early Autumn):
1. WARM, or VERY WARM and prolonged weather through July, August and September.
1779/80 (Winter):
1. COLDEST winter in the series 1764/65 to 1962/63 at Edinburgh, Scotland.
1781: (Summer):
1. June, July and August remarkably WARM by CET series.
1782: (April & May):
1. WETTEST such pair of months in the EWP series. Total=281mm. (see also 1983 & 2000)
1782: (Annual)
1. The equal 10th WETTEST year in the EWP series, with 1109mm (=with 1789). Amongst the wet months that year were: January, April (139mm/wettest April in series), May (142mm/2nd wettest May in series), July, August (151mm/6th wettest August in series) and September.
1784: (late Winter/early Spring):
1. January to April...notably COLD, and persistently so by CET series.
1784/1785: (December to June):
1. Notably DRY during this period. Less than 50% of the average RAINFALL over these 7 months, and includes the exceptionally dry months of March 1785 (19mm) and April 1785 (10mm/6th driest April in the series).
1786: (Autumn):
1. September to November...persistently COLD weather by CET series.
1786/1787: (Winter):
1. Notaby MILD in Scotland. (Severe/cold winters were common at this time - so quite unusual). December was WET & STORMY according to an Aberdeen paper, without much frost/snow. The remarkably mild weather affected much of January - TEMPERATURES by day in Kelso for example rising to 5 to 10 degC from late December until mid-January. February also noted as being without 'harsh' weather.
1788: (Annual):
1. Probably the DRIEST year in the EWP series with 614mm of RAIN. (The Hadley series has this as 612mm). [ Other dry years: 1921 & 1887 q.v.] Includes the DRIEST December in the EWP series.
1789: (Annual):
1. ( Followed by ) probably the 10th WETTEST (equal with 1782) in the EWP series.
1789/1790: (Winter):
1. Very MILD winter in Scotland. December 1789 began with mild, dry weather from the south-west followed by a mixture frost and 'fresh' days, with some SNOW about. Frost at the beginning of January was certainly hard enough to stop ploughing, but fine, fresh weather returned from the south on 6th January and continued for the next three weeks. February continued in similar vein, with winds generally from the southwest. (However, winter 'arrived' in April, with severe frosts and frequent snowfall).
1794/95 (Winter):
1. The winter of 1794/95 was EXCEPTIONALLY SEVERE, with the very cold conditions setting in on Christmas Eve 1794. The FROST then lasted, with some breaks, until late March. The cold was most intense during January, with resulted in the COLDEST CET January. On the 23rd, the Severn was frozen and so was the Thames, with the usual (for those times) 'frost fairs' being set up there. On the 25th January, an extreme temperature of (minus)21 degC (converted from degF) was recorded at an unspecified location in England. A rapid but temporary THAW, accompanied by heavy RAIN began on the 7th February. This resulted in much FLOODING.
2. In Scotland, it was the seventh COLDEST at Edinburgh in the series 1764/65 1962/63. {coldest 1779/80}
1795/1796 (Winter):
1. One of the WARMEST winters (by CET) in the series which began in 1659. Up to 1997, rank=7 Value=6.20; Dec=6.6, Jan=7.3, Feb=4.7 (Others: 1686, 1734, 1834, 1869, 1935, 1975, 1989 and 1990.)
1796/1797: (Winter):
1. A notably STORMY season.
1798: (late Spring):
1. Persistently WARM weather through April, May and June by CET series.
1798/1799: (Winter):
1. Frequent, HEAVY SNOWFALLS affecting at least eastern and central Scotland, from last third of December onwards. Much transport dislocation in late 1798, and again from late January 1799 onwards. (No details for elsewhere in the UK.)
1799: (Spring):
1. March to May..persistently COLD weather by CET series.
1813/1814 (Winter):
1. One of the four or five COLDEST WINTERS in the CET record. See also 1683/84; 1739/40 and 1962/63. Particularly cold January to March: CET values, with anomalies ref. 1961-90 averages: Jan: -2.9(-6.7), Feb: 1.4(-2.4), Mar: 2.9(-2.8): We had to wait until 1962/63 for comparable, extended cold periods, in particular for the January values. The last time that the 'tidal' River Thames froze over sufficient to hold 'frost fairs' etc.
2. Probably one of the SNOWIEST winters in these islands in the last 300 years (1947 comparable).
1. A violent VOLCANIC eruption of Tamboro, in the East Indies in April of 1815, threw enormous amounts of dust into the stratosphere, which spread around the globe, not only cutting out direct insolation, but distorting the global wind circulation. In Europe, grain harvests were late, and in western areas of Britain and across Ireland, continuous RAIN/LOW TEMPERATURES led to total failure of crops with much distress. (NB: Scotland was apparently drier/sunnier than elsewhere - this is taken to imply depressions taking a much more southward path. )
1816: (Summer/early Autumn):
1. Notably COLD periods June to September).
1819/20: (early-mid Winter):
1. Notably COLD weather by CET series.
1826: (Summer):
1. June, July and August: persistently WARM weather by CET series. The period mid-June to mid-July using the CET series, was one (of two) HOTTEST 30-day periods in that series, with a value of 19.7degC. (See also 1976)
2. DRY by the EWP series. June 1826, with 12.4mm, was the 3rd DRIEST June in that series (update to 1998). Total RAINFALL was just 122mm .. not 'record-breaking', but still noteworthy.
1826: (Annual):
1. A DRY year, in the top 20 dry years in the EWP series, and just outside the 'top-10'.
1833/1834 (Winter):
1. One of the WARMEST winters (by CET) in the series which began in 1659. Up to 1997, rank=2 Value=6.53; Dec=6.9, Jan=7.1, Feb=5.6 (Others: 1686, 1734, 1796, 1869, 1935, 1975, 1989 and 1990.)
1834/35 to 1837/38: (Winters/Springs): 4 notably SEVERE winters/cold-springs in Scotland.
1. 1834/1835: Notably SNOWY winter in Scotland. By the third week of January, 1835, there had been enough SNOW to seriously disrupt the 'Mails', but it was not until the end of February that the greatest quantities were reported. The bad/snowy weather lasted well into mid-March, with DEPTHS of 8 or 9 feet being reported.
2. 1835/1836: Another bad winter for SNOW in Scotland. From December until the end of March, snow was a feature. Heavy falls were reported in January and February, 1836, followed by 'considerable' accumulations in March, especially across northern Scotland. In Edinburgh, SNOW was a problem as late as the 31st March, and it was not until 7th April that there was a significant easing in the situation.
3. 1836/1837: Although considerable SNOWFALL was reported in January, 1837, the worst of the weather as far as SNOW was concerned, was still to come. BLIZZARDS began at the end of February and on the 14th March, the weather was still 'severe'. All through March, the weather is still described as 'severe' both as to COLD & SNOW. Much transport dislocation, and distress to livestock, damage to root crops etc. On the 12th April, the Glasgow Chronicle reported that the Campsie and Kilpatrick Hills were still white with snow. The wheat ws so badly damaged by FROST that the farmers had harrowed in down, and were sowing oats instead.
4. 1837/1838: Further considerable SNOWFALL across Scotland. However a late start to the winter, with as late as the 6th January, the weather reported as mild with farmers well on with the work. HARD FROSTS & SNOW however then became a feature of the winter/early spring, with further notes of disrupted mails, hardship for people and livestock.
1838: (September): THE 'GRACE DARLING' GALE
1. 7th: GALE affecting the Farne Islands, only remarkable for generating the events leading up to the 'Grace Darling' story.
1842: (April & May):
1. Exceptionally DRY by the EWP series [ April was 9th driest in that series ].
1843: (Spring):
1. Notably WET spring, using the EWP series.
1844: (Annual):
1. 9th DRIEST yearly rainfall total by the EWP series. April, May (DRIEST May in that series), June & December all exceptionally dry.
1845: (late Summer/early Autumn): POTATO BLIGHT IN IRELAND
1. Notably COLD weather July to September. (1845...POTATO BLIGHT IN IRELAND...start of great famine after harvest failed in October of 1845. The situation was made worse because of the failure of the corn harvest in Britain and western Europe.)
1845/1846: (Winter):
1. Notably MILD winter in Scotland. (c.f. to 'severe' winter conditions much further south e.g. Paris). The generally mild weather lasted from December to early March, when 'winter' set in.
1848: (Annual):
1. 8th WETTEST in the EWP series.
1851/52 & 1852/53: (Winter/Springs)
1. The winter of 1851/52 in Scotland saw some HEAVY SNOWFALL. The first major event affected the north of Scotland on the 13th with considerable disruption to mail services. The railway to Aberdeen from the south was kept open only with difficulty. It was reported that deaths occurred, due to often BLIZZARD conditions. The storms did not continue beyond the end of January.
2. The winter of 1852/53 in Scotland also was SEVERE, particularly in February. Low TEMPERATURES and HEAVY SNOWFALL. This time, severe conditions of cold and snow lasted well into March.
1852: (Annual):
1. A notably WET year over England & Wales: With an EWP of 1213mm, it is placed 3rd in the all-record list. (See also 1872, 1768 and 1960).
1857: (late Summer/early Autumn):
1. Persistently WARM weather from August to October, by CET series.
1859: (October): THE "ROYAL CHARTER" STORM.
1. The GALE of 25th October 1859, which wrecked the fully rigged ship "Royal Charter" on the coast of Anglesey, drowning about 500 people (and loss of gold bullion), led to the introduction of gale warnings (in June 1860). The ship was only one of over 200 vessels wrecked between the 21st October and 2nd November, with the loss of around 800 lives - most of these losses occurred in the 'Royal Charter Storm'. (Often cited as the event that led to the 'birth' of the UK Meteorological Office.)
1865: (late Spring):
1. April, May and June...persistently fine and WARM weather.
1868: (early Summer): ' A HUNDRED IN THE SHADE...? '
1. Persistently WARM weather by CET series over period May to July.
2. Although not accepted (because of problems of comparison between Glaisher and Stevenson screens), the MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE recorded on the 22nd July, 1868 at Tonbridge, Kent is still remarkable: 100.6 degF/(converted=38.1degC).
1868/1869 (Winter):
1.The WARMEST winter (by CET) in the series which began in 1659. Up to 1997, rank=1 Value=6.77; Dec=7.2, Jan=5.6, Feb=7.5 (Others: 1686, 1734, 1796, 1834, 1935, 1975, 1989 and 1990.)
1872 (Annual):
1. WETTEST year for England and Wales in the EWP series. (1284.9mm for the EWP series.)
1878/79: (late Autumn/early Winter):
1. November to January..notably and persistently COLD by CET series.
1878/79: (Winter):
1. The COLDEST winter in a Glasgow composite record from 1868. (2nd coldest was 1962/63) [ for the CET series, this *was* the coldest CET=minus 0.33, with the winter of 1878/79 coming seventh in the series at + 0.70degC.] (see 'Weather'August, 1963: pp226-228)
2. A VERY SNOWY winter / early spring November to April. Number of snowdays very large; in places in north there was 3 months cover.
1879: (Annual):
1. Unusually unsettled and though to be comparable with worst years of the Little Ice Age; COLDEST year in London (?Kew) since detailed records first kept in 1841. A WET summer with large-scale collapse of agriculture.
1879: (late Spring/early Summer):
1. April to July...notably and persistently COLD by CET series.
1879: (Summer/early Autumn):
1. Notably WET period. The five months May to September, 1897 accounted for 580mm of RAIN by the EWP; circa 190%. The three 'high-summer' months of June, July & August each had nearly double average (1961-90) rainfall amounts and (up to 1999) was the second wettest summer in the EWP record. (Next time this wet in 1903; wettest summer in the series=1912).
1879/80: (late Autumn/Winter):
1. November to January .. notably and persistently COLD AGAIN (see above) by CET series. Compared with continental Europe (see 2. below), the winter was not so severe, but DEATHS from cold were reported and evergreens were killed. On the 4th December, 1879, the TEMPERATURE of (minus) 23degF (circa (minus) 31degC) was recorded at Blackadder, Berwickshire though this is not recongnised due to poor exposure and lack of certified instrument.
2. December 1879 was the COLDEST month of the 19th century in France & central Europe, and the cold persisted into January 1880; the Dutch waterways were FROZEN for nearly two months and in Paris, fifty people DIED of cold.
3. 28th December, 1879: THE TAY BRIDGE DISASTER
The original Tay Bridge (3km/1.85mi) railway crossing was the scene of a disaster during the evening when a section of the bridge was blown away in a STORM as a train was crossing over it. Circa 75 deaths. Some TORNADIC activity evident as waterspouts were observed in the vicinity.
1887: (Annual):
1. An EXCEPTIONALLY DRY year by the EWP series: 669mm. [DRIEST in the series (up to 1998), were 1788 with 614mm and 1921 with 629mm. ]
1887: (Spring):
1. Notably and persistently COLD by CET series.
1890/1891: (Winter):
1. The winter of 1890/91 was remarkable for its long duration, from 25th November to 22nd January, rather than for the intensity of the FROST. During this period the average TEMPERATURE was below 0 degC over nearly the whole of England and Wales and below (minus) 1 degC in East Anglia and the south-east Midlands. Skating in Regent's Park occurred on 43 days, the thickness of the ICE exceeding 9 inches (circa 23cm) but the FROST penetrated in the ground to a depth of only about 30cm. (CEPB): The synoptic pattern was dominated by a large anticyclone covering northern Europe with a marked ridge extending over southern England, giving almost continuous east or northeast winds.
1891: (March):
1. 9-13th March 1891, easterly BLIZZARD**. Heavy, fine powdery SNOW and STRONG EASTERLY WINDS raged across SW England, southern England and Wales, with over half a million trees being blown down, as well as a number of telegraph poles. On the 9th (and later?), GREAT SNOWSTORM in the west of England, trains buried for days: E-NE GALE, shipwrecks, many lives lost. (Eden notes: 220 people dead; 65 ships foundered in the English Channel; 6000 sheep perished; countless trees uprooted; 14 trains stranded in Devon alone.) Although the West Country was the worst affected, southern England, the Midlands, and south Wales also suffered. SNOWDRIFTS were 'huge' around some houses in the London - would be accounted a most remarkable sight nowadays! A man was reported found dead at Dorking, Surrey, while SNOWDRIFTS of 3.5 metres were recorded at Dulwich, London and Dartmouth, Devon. At Torquay and Sidmouth, Devon over 30 cm of snow fell.
**This may be the first time in the UK that the word 'blizzard' was used. Thought to derive from a German expression: " Der sturm kommt blitzartig", which translates as "The storm comes/came lightning-like".
1893 (Spring/early Summer):
1. A notably DRY season over England and Wales. (see also 1990). Some places in SE England had no RAIN for 60 consecutive days, from mid-March to mid-May with the longest ABSOLUTE DROUGHT of all being at Mile End (London) from 4th March to 15th May. This (at 1993) is thought to be the longest period without measurable rain ever recorded in the British Isles. During the period March to June, in the SE of England some areas experienced less than 30% of average rainfall.
2. Notably persistent WARM weather over period April to June. The combined effect of the DROUGHT, above average TEMPERATURES and often intense/prolonged SUNSHINE meant that by the 21st of June, many agricultural areas of southern England and the east Midlands were undergoing great stress: the ground parched, meadows burnt dry with many crops declared a failure. Fruit was withering (not helped by some sharp/late FROSTS in May) and the hay crop was much reduced; root crops also severely affected. (See article R. Brugge, 'Weather' May 1993).
1894/95 (Winter):
1. Exceptional COLD/WINTRY from 30/12/1894 to 05/03/1895. To horticulturists and ice skaters in East Anglia, it was the winter of the ' twelve week frost '. Records from Cambridge Observatory show that there were actually air frosts on 70 of the 84 nights between 26th December 1894 and 20th March 1895. The month of February 1895 stands out at Oxford as having the LOWEST AVERAGE MIN TEMP (minus 5.6 degC) and the highest number of GROUND FROSTS (27) for any February in the 113 years to 1993 at the Radcliffe Observatory. From the 9th to the 17th February the whole of the Thames was more or less blocked by ice-floes, some of them 6 or 7 feet thick.
2. Second COLDEST winter in a Manchester long-period record (from 1888), comprising Manchester (Prestwich) 1888-1900; Manchester (Whitworth Park) 1901-1941; & Manchester (Ringway) from 1942. The coldest winter was, as in many places in England & Wales, in 1962/63. However, in the CET series, the winter of 1894/95 did not appear in the top 7 cold winters, so the fact that Manchester stands out is interesting.

Derbyshire Times, Saturday August 12th 1922 on page 12. Part of an almost full-page report headed WASHED OUT, Storm Havoc in Derbyshire, Railway Lines Blocked and Houses Flooded.
Hello John,
Re the mention of extreme weather, I've found a report from the good old Derbyshire Times from 1922 describing a catastrophic storm which landed on Derbyshire and washed out all the Bank Holiday fixtures in August. The correspondent estimates that nearly ten million tons of water fell on the Linacre gathering ground.
Among the reports for various locations the Wirksworth item mentions -
The deluge at Wirksworth was something of a record locally. From the statistics compiled by Mr T Atkinson, of Manor House, the official rainfall recorder, it appears that the rain started on Sunday night about 11 o'clock and continued incessantly until six o'clock on Monday evening, the amount measured being 2.96 inches. The rainfall in 24 hours on Sunday was 2.02 in., and for Monday .94 in. Much damage was done to garden plots. The other sub-headings include -
  • Brampton Cut Off
  • Holymoorside Flooded
  • Beighton Station Like a Canal
  • Pinxton People Take to their Bedrooms
  • Railway Traffic Stopped at Staveley
  • £100 Damage at Chesterfield Sewerage Works
  • Tide Coming in at Beeley
  • Gas Works Flooded at South Normanton
  • Five Feet of Water at Clay Cross
  • Tree Splintered by Lightning
  • 50 Fowls Drowned at Killamarsh
Amazingly no one seems to have perished but quite a lot of livestock were not so lucky. My father, five years old at the time, can remember being taken to see a relative's house which had been flooded in Chesterfield.
Best wishes,
Michael Connolley (Amersham, Bucks) [michael@connolley.co.uk]

PS: If it happened today it would be put down to global warming, back then it was just extreme weather.

Hi John
Having been unable to find your reference to the weather records, it seems a new url is:
Peter Turner
Peter Turner (Birmingham, UK)