All Our Yesterdays Special: The Big Freeze of 1963 - SEE PICS
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Big Freeze when snow fell on West Norfolk for months.
Pack ice was seen floating down the River Ouse and snow was piling across the area creating problems for vulnerable pensioners, motorists and farmers.
Cold weather first hit British shores in December 1962 but things grew steadily worse when snow began to fall on Boxing Day 1963 and continued until March.
Shipping was disrupted, heating fuel rationed and there was no football at The Walks for 12 weeks.
Some of the lowest temperatures for 30 years were recorded in January 1963 when the gauges dropped to -12C.
But things were not all bad with youngsters enjoying sledging, hockey on frozen rivers, ice-skating in Nordelph and some people even had a go at a spot of Eskimo style fishing.
Newmarket race horses, including Grand National favourite, Frenchman’s Cove, used snowy Holkham beach as a training ground as the ground was too hard in land.
Seven-year-old Peter Griffin had a very lucky escape from the ice-covered Long Pond in Lynn after his tiny arm was seen slipping under the water by passing teenager John Barlow.
The 15-year-old, of Loke Road, ran across the ice to pull Peter out of the cold water in February.
He told the Lynn News: “I could only see the boy’s arms and hair above the water. The rest of his face and body were under water.”
Luckily Peter only suffered grazed knees in the ordeal.
Cement worker Walter Eglen, 35, rescued a dog trapped in a hole on the same pond in January.
But after it was pulled free and had its legs rubbed, the dog ran off into Loke Road.
A group of 21 young adventurers did not let the cold weather stop them from completing a 50-mile trek through Norfolk, which included spending some nights under canvas.
David Dingle, an 18-year-old police cadet from Dersingham took part in the trek, which ended at the TA Hall in providence street.
He said: “Thursday (January 14) was the particularly cold but we had comfortable straw to sleep on.”
Life was hard for many people with coke and coal being rationed when supplies could not get through.
Councils in Lynn and Downham were inundated with calls from tenants about burst pipes when a temporary thaw began to create chaos.
Residents in Bevil Way, Gaywood, even had to thaw a stand pipe before they could fill their buckets of water.
People living in York Avenue, Glebe Avenue and Victoria Avenue in Hunstanton were left without hunting for two weekends in February.
Lynn’s Red Cross and Women’s Royal Voluntary Service started an appeal for cash and blankets to help the area’s stricken pensioners.
Residents living in Lynn’s almshouses remained upbeat despite their homes being completely frozen and no hot water.
Nearby businesses also rallied around to provide fresh water to St John’s Almshouse.
Frozen fields created headaches for farmers and food factory workers.
More than 100 factories were laid off by Fropax Ltd and Beaulah Canners while vegetable prices soared as crops could not be lifted.
The sugar beet campaign was brought to an abrupt halt in January when processing work stopped at the factories in Wissington and Saddlebow, Lynn.
Some farmers experimented with spreading salt over their fields in a desperate attempt to lift the remaining crops, which were worth an estimated £400,000.
Agriculturalist at the Lynn factory A Dyer told the Lynn News shortly after production stopped on January 13: “We have had 53 days of frost out of the last 63. I doubt we have had it quite as prolonged before.”
Shipping at Lynn’s port was also affected.
Thick pack ice on the River Ouse restricted shipping movements and at one point the pilot cutter had to return to port after his bow as damaged.
The harbour sea at Wells had frozen for the first time since 1947.
But The Mart was still able to run in 1963 after council workmen used flame guns to clear the snow from Tuesday Market Place.
Blizzards at the end of January left 92 miles of West Norfolk roads blocked with bulldozers, snowploughs and lorries were called in to get the area moving.
Snow drifts reaching 5ft were reported between Docking and Brancaster and bus services were cancelled.
King’s Lynn FC missed out on months of action at The Walks when the pitch was frozen solid.
The club was forced to hire the town’s corn exchange for its players to use for training during the freeze.
Former fullback Ted Woodhouse tried to help groundsmen clear The Walks by using his road breaking drill to create drainage holes on the solid pitch in February.
But action returned to the Walks in March when Lynn Reserves drew 2-2 with Lowestoft.
Pelican Hockey Club players Neil and Arthur Burman were not stopped by the weather when they decided to use the frozen relief channel at Saddlebow as a pitch.
The cold snap allowed Carl English, of Archdale Street, Lynn, to try his luck at a spot of Eskimo fishing when he dangled his line through a hole in the ice.
Click the link to see newspaper clippings from 1963
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Weather for King's Lynn
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: South west