Memories of the big freeze of 1962/3

Frozen rivers, ice floes at sea - this was the coldest winter since 1740 and it lasted for more than 60 days.

Memories of the time, half a century ago, when Norfolk froze solid are revived in the hit book Days Gone By which is almost sold out.

The book contains a collection of fascinating photographs from the Archant archives looking at life in the city and county over seven decades.

It has been bringing so many happy memories back as people recognise family, friends and remember events which made the papers over the years.

And of course the weather, good and bad, has played a major part of our lives - from heat waves to big freezes.

Today we take a look at the way it was during the winter of 1962/3. Those who lived through it, will never forget it.

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It was a time when the whole community came together to help each other as we all battled against the cold - and boy was it cold.

Freezing temperatures and deep snow from Christmas 1962 until the following March. Norfolk was held fast in an Arctic grip which seems to get tighter and tighter.

Frozen rivers, ice floes at sea, this was the coldest winter since 1740.

The first outriders of winter had already made their appearance in November when the first flakes of snow fell over Norwich. But the snow started to fall in earnest on Boxing Day - and it just kept on snowing.

An area of low pressure gathered strength and unleashed a blizzard across East Anglia causing huge drifts and blocking most roads.

And it just kept on getting colder making the ice thicker and conditions more difficult as people try to get by.

Roads were blocked not only by snow but by soil as fierce winds cleared both snow and top soil from exposed fields.

Pipes froze, public buildings closed down, sporting events were cancelled and the temperature at Santon Downton near Thetford was recorded at a numbing -15C.

Mind you, skaters and children were loving it. The Wensum in Norwich turned into a football pitch

and skating championships were held at Oulton Broad.

The snow lay for around 60 long days before Spring made an appearance., By early March fields and lawns could be seen again. It had been a long winter.

<t> Days Gone By is in the shops now at �7.95. Call Norwich (01603) 772174 or 772171, or go to

<t> If you have any memories or photographs of the big freeze of 1962/3 get in touch via or write to me at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.