Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Cold enough to freeze the river

Worcester: Severe winters and frozen rivers
by Clive Haynes

The River Severn frozen in 1885
Skating on the frozen River Severn in 1885

1603 & 1605:

Long harsh winters. Famine, dearth of wheat and corn.


From the 5 December to 14 February there were blizzards, and snow drifts to 25 feet high (7.62m).

Water mills stopped, which led to more hardship, due to the lack of grain for bread.


There was deep snow from 16 January to 12 March, with snow on hills into May.

It was described at the time as the greatest snow in living memory.


There were Frost Fairs, certainly in London, and occasionally on the Severn and the Wye.

These included pig and ox roasts.

At Hampton Lode (known as Homestone's load) 68 people drowned going to Bewdley fair.


There were great frosts in December with the Severn and the Wye frozen.

Britain adopted theGregorian calendar in 1752, which led to an 11 day differential.


This souvenir handbill was printed on the frozen River Severn

On the 25 January, the River Severn was frozen, and a printing press was set up on the ice by Mr Grundy.


On the 21 February, the River Severn was again frozen, and another printing press was set up, this time by Edward Tilbrook.

Souvenir handbills were printed, with engravings of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Skating on the frozen River Severn in 1885
The River Severn, frozen in 1885

1883 or 1885:

There was skating on the River Severn, and stalls were set, including an ox roast.


October to December

One of the coldest spells of weather.

Water in Herefordshire & Worcestershire frozen solid, and there were icicles up to 15 feet long (4.57m).

There were other notable cold, frosty and snowy winters in 1947, 1964/65, and 1982.

1965 floods on archive news film
15 Dec 09 |  History
Churchill in Nelson's footsteps
11 Dec 09 |  History
Bradman at Worcester archive film
15 Dec 09 |  History
The day the High Town house moved
10 Dec 09 |  History



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