It’s snowing again and, as usual, the south of England has come slithering and sliding to a standstill.
I’ve made my fair share of “don’t know what things are coming to”, “I remember when…”, “when I was a kid…” type comments; including a “southerners don’t know what snow is” conversation with a Geordie lady at the bus stop – but I’m not sure that our ancestors coped any better than we do.
Take this from the 17th century…
Monday 28th. I took horse in the morning betwixt seven and 8 being resolved if possible for Edr [Edinburgh]. it snowed all the time as we went to Dunse…we had very deep snow and very oft were forced to walk above the knees in snow whc toild me very much. yet God be thanked we had a clear day and now blowing so that we mist not the way.
[An Album of Scottish Families 1694-96 by Helen and Keith Kelsall; 1990, Aberdeen University Press, ISBN: 008040930X]
or this from the 19th century…
Edinburgh Dec. 18.
The frost, which set in on the 6th inst., supervened on the severest snowstorms by which Scotland has been visited for 21 years. A continuous fall for 24 hours, followed by intermittent showers extending over several days, covered the streets of Edinburgh to the depth of two or three feet… the snow in exposed places was drifted and piled up in solid wreaths five or six feet high. The street traffic was either wholly stopped or greatly impeded, and for several days the running of the tramway car was entirely suspended… This has come very hardly on the poor, especially on those who are engaged in open air labour – on masons, gardeners, and day labourers, who have been for two or three weeks frozen out of their employment. Then the ravages of disease have been greatly increased, especially among those who are ill-fed and underclad, and also among the very old and the very young of all classes.
There have been several deaths from exposure.
[The Times, Wednesday, Dec 20, 1882; pg. 3; Issue 30695; col E]
or this from the 20th century…
[The Glasgow Herald. Monday, January 26, 1959.]
Maybe we never have had it so good!