GEOFF CRAMBIE: Snow every day from Christmas to March in the winter of 1962-63

Dateline: Sunday, January 20th, 1963, and here in this week’s dramatic picture, we can see just how severe that terrible winter really was.

Yes indeed, captured here by the Brewery Cottages in Colne’s Keighley Road, is BCN Bus No. 215, stuck in a huge snowdrift as employees prepare to dig the grounded double-decker out.

This excellent photo was taken by cameraman of great note, Albert Lovell, and has been kindly presented from the BCN Society collection by the renowned historian of all local buses and trams over the years, the affable Alan Catlow.

Alan has generously selected a compilation of rare and historic local tram and bus photos and let notable lensman, Colin Bean and myself choose a selection to be included in our forthcoming book, “Colne Through Time”, which is due for publication later this year. This snowbound scene from one of the worst winters of the 20th century is a must for its pages, as Colin and “Yours Truly” select the very best pictures from over 10,000 images for “Colne Through Time”.

The long and fearful winter of 1963 actually began on Saturday, December 22nd, 1962, when heavy snow started falling and by Sunday, December 30th, there were the worst snowstorms in Britain since the winter of 1881. From that Saturday, December 22nd, 1962, through to Wednesday, March 6th, 1963, snow fell somewhere in Great Britain every single day and not one of those 75 horrendous days did the temperature rise above freezing!


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During that winter to remember, I was working as office clerk to the wine and spirits merchants, L. Threlfall and Son of Market Street, Colne. One of my duties was to take stock of the company’s pubs and in early January 1963, company rep. Llewellyn Heap and myself set off in the genial Lew’s Ford Zephyr six motor to the Stone Trough Inn at Kelbrook. As we left around 9-30 a.m., the snow started and, as we came into Kelbrook, the drifts were around five foot high! We both stayed the night at the Stone Trough and came back 36 hours later when the snow ploughs had cleared the main road!