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Foggy memories

Dense fog and smog were a frequent problem in the winters of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Many parts of England and Wales were brought to a standstill as visibility was severely reduced.

With the high density of homes and industries burning fossil fuels, London was frequently the city worst affected.

Memories from the winter of 1959

I was six when the great smog hit Northolt where I lived.

I remember being walked to school wrapped up in scarves to protect our mouths, and thinking it was great fun!

Everything was a hazy yellow from the streetlights and I couldn't understand why the adults were complaining! It made the journey to school that much more exciting!
Pam Huggins, UAE

We had a blind piano tuner who was tuning the piano that night.

I remember my grandmother saying to my uncle that he should see the piano tuner home as the weather was so bad.

The blind tuner then pointed out that he'd have to see HIM back as he could get along far better [than my uncle].
David Whale, Australia

I was eight years old and living in Kingston on Thames and I remember looking out of the front window of my grandmother's house and only just being able to see a trolley bus going past no more than twelve feet away!
Steve, England

I can remember my father driving back home one evening during the smog and ending up on the other side of the road. I then had to get out of the car and walk along the pavement with my hand on the car bonnet to keep him on the right side of the road.
Lindsay, England

I remember going home (Streatham, SW16) from school (St. Pauls in Hammersmith) one night. I was 13 and rode the District Line from Baron's Court to Sloane Square. I waited in vain for a 137 bus but nothing was moving. I decided to walk and my trek took me mostly along the 137 bus route. I remember passing 17 137s on the way!
Bob Head, USA

I remember walking home from school and I could not see a thing! It was so bad I couldn't even see my shoes in front of me. Not that we had shoes like they have them today mind. Kids today don't realise how lucky they are.
Mark Almond, England

I remember I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face. It was a right pea souper. One of the worst. I was wheezing for days afterwards. Youngsters these days don't know how lucky they are.
David O'Keeffe, England

Memories from 1962

I was six, and just came from Australia to London in November 1962.

I couldn't believe it! Cold, then the snow, and the smog.

I sat on my Dad's car bonnet to direct him in zero visibility. The first time I ever wore a sweater or felt cold. I thought England was a horrible place!
David Newman, Italy

I walked to school from Kennington to the Oval in fog so dense that visibility was less than 50 feet and greenish yellow.

I had a handkerchief over my mouth that was black by the time I reached the school and my chest hurt.
Martin, USA


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