Dales Winters

Dales Winters

Memories of the Winter of 1947 by people from sycamore day centre 2003

The Winter of 1947

This record was taken from a note-book kindly lent by Mr.Stan Brook of West Burton.

Horace Brook





Stans father Horace recorded the weather in the garden at Flanders Hall in West Burton for many years where he worked as a chauffeur and gardener.

He recorded rainfall, maximum and minimum temperature and degrees of frost.
He also had a side column where he recorded what the weather conditions were like at the time.
These are some of his observations during part of the harsh winter of 1947.

It snowed on and off during parts of January for approximately six days.

From the 1st of February to the 10th of February it snowed every day except for two.
There was no snow then until the 19th February. From the 19th of February until the end of February it snowed every day except for three. Sometimes the snow fall was as deep as 7 inches a night with lots of drifting snow.

On the 23rd of February the temperature nosedived to -18 degrees C.

The first four days of March were pretty quiet with regard to snow but on the 2nd and then on the 3rd of March the mercury in the thermometer went past the needle so it must have been at least 18 degrees C.

There was another eight days on which it snowed in March including the 12th of March when a further 9 inches of snow fell overnight.

On the 18th of March the thaw finally set in and this gave rise to significant flooding in the area.

The Capstick Brothers 1947

Some Memories of the Winter of 1947

Dolly Johnson Carperby

Dolly was evacuated as a young wife with her eldest son. They lived in the East End of London. London was so badly damaged that a lot of people had to leave and go to live elsewhere.

Dolly and her son went to Norfolk. Very little snow fell in that area so really they had quite an easy time of it.

Allens Shop at Hawes

Glad we don’t get snow like this anymore.

Mary Moore Hawes

I remember going to milk the calves at Sedbusk I was 17 years old. Somehow I slipped and spilt the milk. My husband was not very happy about it.

Abbotside was blocked from the end of January to the beginning of April. One day they would clear Sedbusk hill and the next day it had all blown back again.

Edgar Daykin (in a new window) Askrigg

I was in Germany in the winter of 1947 aged 27 and waiting to be demobbed.

It did snow there but nothing like the snow we got in England. When I returned to England I took up butchery.

Appersett Viaduct circa 1970s

Nora Atkinson Hawes

I lived on the main Sedbergh road three miles out of Hawes. We used to sell milk. It was taken by horse and trap to Hawes sta-tion.

When you tried to walk in the snow it was so deep you had to lift one leg up onto the snow, then sit astride it and then lift the other leg over. It was very hard going.

We lost a lot of sheep that winter.

Nora at Hardraw Falls 1963

Jim Waterworth (in a new window) Bainbridge

I was eleven years old and living in Ambleside. I was at the local primary school. I remember looking down at the village from High Gale where I lived and seeing the spire on the church sticking out from the snow looking absolutely beautiful.

The snow was absolutely pure just like a picture postcard.

Nothing moved in the village for weeks and weeks.

Lake Semerwater frozen in 1929

Francis Kearton Bainbridge

I was working at the cheese factory at Hawes.

The staff who worked there had to dig out the yard every morning. Only for the snow to blow back overnight.

The milk was brought by train and then by horse and trap to the dairy to be made into cheese.

West Burton in the early 1920s

This photo was taken by Horace Brook of West Burton helped by his son Stan (in a new window) who gave him a leg up on to the outside privvy at Flanders Hall to take it.

Stan Brook West Burton

I was in hospital in 1947. I was smashed up in Singapore and when I returned to England I needed urgent medical treatment.

I never saw any snow as the windows in the ward were quite high. I heard a lot about it though.

the falls at West Burton Feb 9th 1895

Spence Thwaites Swaledale

It was hard from getting up to going to bed.
We had no electricity or running water. The snow was as high as the farm gates.

No vehicles got through to Muker for 13 weeks.

There was a couple who tried to get married on the 15th of March at Muker. The transport was by horse and coup (which is a kind of sledge).Even then they were unable to reach Muker.

The snow was so bad the wedding had to be put off until the 18th March when the wedding was finally able to take place.

Hardraw Falls 1881 by LB Smithson


Middle Falls Waterfall, Aysgarth

JB Smithson

Aysgarth Falls 1950

Gigantic Icicle Askrigg 1820

This extract was from the Liverpool Mercury February 4th 1820
*Ultimo – In the last Month preceding the present.

GIGANTIC ICICLE! – Wonderful Phenomenon – On Sunday, the 16th ultimo,* the inhabitants of Askrigg and its vicinity were led by curiosity to view an icicle which had formed itself from a small fall of water, at the turn off on its course to drive a mill wheel: the form being a cone, with an opening of about six feet from its base sufficient to admit the body of any person to the interior, which was decended into by means of a ladder, its height twenty-three feet, and its base seven feet.

After further examination, another apartment was found, formed behind the first apartment by means of two grand pillars of solid ice, with a base of three feet and a half; both were proved by admission to hold twenty people.

In the afternoon a company of ladies and gentlemen, of not less than eight or ten, regaled themselves with a bottle of wine; the night being mild, several lights were placed in the inside, when the transparent view struck the eye with such splendid grandeur that it is impossible for any pen to describe.
At the same time a party of vocal and instrumental performers was placed in one of the apartments, and entertained the company assembled round with several pieces of sacred music to a late hour.”

Whitfield Gill waterfall at Askrigg

JB Smithson

Cotter Force circa 1970s

Bainbridge to Stalling Busk road near High Force 1932

Lake Semerwater frozen over in 1956

The girl is Doreen Fawcett the boy is William Beresford

  • If anyone has any photos or stories for this page contact angela@kershaw.org or tel 01969663652

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