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UK Weather - past and present

Month of January


Storms 21st January 1802

Sheffield - On January 21st, 1802, the town was visited by a dreadful storm of wind, during which, the slates were torn from the roofs, and scattered through the streets with such violence that it was perilous to pass them. A stack of chimneys in St. James' Street, fell through the roof of an adjoining house, and overwhelmed a bed from which four persons had just risen. A sheet of lead,was precipitated from the flat roof of the Tontine, into the yard, immediately after the Doncaster mail coach had set out, and upon the very spot where it had stood. Many chimney pipes were destroyed, casements blown out, signs carried off, and decayed buildings shaken to pieces. A child was crushed to death at Sheffield-moor, by a falling wall. Two trees by the river side, near the Nursery, were torn up by the roots, and laid across the road. In the Wicker, three high chimneys at Mr. Dixon's silver refinery were laid to the ground.

Doncaster - On Wednesday night and yesterday the weather was the most tempestuous perhaps ever recollected, a tremendous hurricane blowing from the W.N.W. which has done considerable damage to this town and neighbourhood. The roofs of several houses were stripped, chimneys thrown down, and two large trees in Marsh-gate blown up. It blew so violent that many persons passing along the streets were thrown down and much hurt. A servant girl of Mrs. Bestow's, of Thorne, was killed by the falling of a chimney. A barn of Mr. Jackson's, of Rossington, was blown down; and we fear we shall have to relate more distressing circumstances occasioned by the storm.

Liverpool - We were visited here by the most dreadful hurricane last night than can be remembered by the oldest inhabitant. A horrid night it was indeed, and the daylight opened a scene shocking to behold. Many houses are quite blown down and demolished; innumerable others have had their chimneys thrown down in every part of the town. Many lives are left in ruins; but the havoc made in the river Mersey surpasses all description. Several vessels this day, at tide time, floundered in the sight of the inhabitants and Inspectors on shore, and in some instances every attempt to save the perishing sailors proved abortive! The river, and all along the Cheshire shore, presents a melancholy scene indeed: Dead bodies thrown up; dead pieces of wreck floating here and there! - Horror has been depicted in every countenance - each person afraid either to go out in the street for fear of being killed by the falling of brick, slates, ridgings, etc.. and equally apprehensive of his life by constant expectation of his house falling down over him.

York - Early on Thursday morning, the most tremendous gale of wind came on at this place that has been experienced for a number of years. It continued without intermission until a late hour in the evening. The damage it has done to the buildings, etc. in many parts of the city is considerable. Our letters mention, that its severity has been felt in almost every district of the kingdom. Our accounts from Hull state, that the appearance on the side of the river was most tremendous. From the extreme violence of the wind the Humber appeared like a vast field of smoke. - A small sloop belonging to Mr. Joseph Howard of that place, unloaded, sunk opposite the garrison, fortunately none of the crew were on board, and the vessel has been got up with little damage. Apprehensions were entertained for two brigs lying at anchor opposite the garrison, but they rode out the gale in safety. A brig was driven ashore between that place and Paul, but has since been got off. A sloop was sunk off Hessle, and two out of three of the crew drowned; the third reached the land with great difficulty. Of the crew of another sloop in great distress off that place, one perished upon deck by the cold; another was drowned, and the third was, by great exertion, got on shore, and carried to Hessle.

Manchester - on Thursday, the storm of wind and rain exceeded any similar visitation ever remembered; several houses were blown down, and, we lament to say, that four persons were crushed to death by the falling of one of the numerous stacks of chimneys razed by the hurricane. At Sudbury, Ipswich, and their neighbourhood, several houses were unroofed by the wind on Thursday night, and several chimneys blown down. The mill at Ballingden was nearly broken to pieces. At Norwich, on Thursday, the streets were strewed with the fragments of chimneys, roofs, etc. and in the neighbourhood, several large trees were blown down; and a pear tree belonging to Mr. Gurney, in Magdalene Street, was torn to atoms. Other damage was done, to the amount of 1000. At Stamford, a windmill, and several stacks of corn and hay, and innumerable chimneys were blown down. The chapel windows at Burghley were blown in, and several large trees were blown down.

Floods in Sheffield January 1806

On January 6th, there was one of the highest floods in the Don ever remembered ; the high road from the Wicker to the Bridgehouses was completely overflowed.

Severe Weather 17 January, 1809

For several miles in the Parish of Easington near Whitby, the snow lay from 4 to 8 feet deep. A larger quantity of snow has not been known within the last 20 years.

Summary of January, 1864

On Wednesday night the temperature indicated by the thermometer in Hyde Park was 15.30 degrees - that is to say, one degree and a half below that of the previous night. Yesterday morning at 9 o'clock, however, the mercury had risen to 19.39 degrees, a temperature three degrees and a half higher than that of the preceding day. The wind was from the N.N.E., and in the morning the atmosphere was dry, but foggy. Towards the evening the temperature rose several degrees.

The sheets of water in the parks presented yesterday a scene more animated than on any preceding day. The crown and the assemblage of carriages in Hyde Park and Rotten Row are said to have been larger than any seen there since the opening of the Great Exhibition in 1851. At one time, it is computed by Mr. Young, the secretary, and Mr. Williams, the superintendent of the Royal Humane Society, there were not fewer than 7,000 persons upon the Serpentine. A great many persons were received into the house of the Royal Humane Society with heads cut. Their wounds were dressed by Mr. Young and Dr. Christian.

Two very serious accidents happened, - in particular one to Mr. Hudson, of Newcastle Court, Strand, and another to Mr. John Edwards, of Barnet. These were also attended to at the Royal Humane Society's receiving house. When night fell, skating and sliding by torchlight commenced.

In St. James's Park, had it not been for the exertions rendered by Deputy Superintendent Perry and the men under him, it is quite probable that several lives would have been lost, for at one period no less than 3,500 persons were skating or sliding upon the ice, which towards the after part of the evening began to part. Several persons fell in. Five persons had wounds dressed by Dr. M'Cann, of Parliament Street, and Mr. Laughnan, who assisted him.

In the Victoria Park yesterday about 10,000 or 11,000 persons were either sliding or skating upon the ice. No accident beyond a few cut heads occurred during the day.

At Chatham on Wednesday night the temperature fell to 10 degrees. The whole of the canals and ponds in the neighbourhood are covered with ice several inches in thickness, allowing vast numbers to skate and slide.

The canal leading from Rochester to Gravesend was yesterday visited by some thousands of persons.

The water in the docks at Chatham dockyard were yesterday frozen over, but in consequence of the rise and fall of the tide the ice was not of sufficient thickness to allow of persons venturing upon it. There was yesterday a quantity of ice in the harbour which had been floated down the stream, showing that the upper portions of the river were frozen.

On Wednesday the frost continued with unabated severity in the neighbourhood of Nottingham. Yesterday a dense fog prevailed. The canals were all frozen over, and transit was entirely stopped. Upon the river Trent masses of ice had formed, and in some places it was said the river was frozen over - a circumstance of rare occurrence.

In the Midland Counties the frost of Wednesday night was remarkably severe. In the country round Worcester the thermometer fell as low as 10 degrees, and was 12 degrees at daybreak yesterday. The day was cloudy, and it rose very little all day. The ground, being unprotected by snow, is frozen to a considerable depth, and the earth is white with hoar frost, which the sun when it shines has not the power to melt. The wind went round from E. to S. on Wednesday evening, but yesterday the weathercock pointed N.E. There is every present indication of the protracted cold weather.

The severe frost still continues in Yorkshire. The lowest temperature marked at Malton on Tuesday night was 24 degrees. The keenest frost of the season occurred on Wednesday night, when the mercury receded to 12 degrees. The highest temperature in the shade on Thursday was 25 degrees.

The effects of the severe weather upon the wheat crops are beginning to cause anxiety to farmers, who all wish for a covering of snow.

The lakes at Castle Howard and Welham are daily crowded with skaters. On the latter, on Wednesday afternoon, some alarm was caused by a young man having a severe fit on the ice. There is every prospect on a continuance of the frost.

The weather in Keswick is intensely cold, and the whole of the Derwent water, from the Landings to the entrance of Grange, is one mass of thick ice, probably presenting the finest skating ground in England, being 3 miles long, 1 mile and a half at its greatest breadth, and about 9 miles in circumference. The rivers Greta and Derwent are partially frozen over.

Since Monday the pools and ponds in the neighbourhood of Liverpool have been covered with a thick coating of ice, and sliding and skating have been favourite amusements all through the week.

On Wednesday the ornamental water in Prince's and Wavertree Parks, and the flooded portions of the Sefton Meadows, were crowded with skaters, and yesterday, the frost having gained rather than lost in intensity, the different fields of of ice presented a still more animated and gay spectacle.

The ornamental in Birkenhead Park have been thronged by skaters, not a few of whom were ladies. On Tuesday a match at curling took place at the Birkenhead Park, between Mr. T. H. Galloway and Mr. Dempster, who between them mustered 18 channel stones. After a well contested game of 21 shots, victory rested with Mr. Dempster, the game having been witnessed by a numerous concourse of spectators.

The cold is still growing in intensity, and yesterday morning a thermometer placed in a garden at Oxton indicated a temperature of 15 degrees; near the ground, on the Liverpool side of the Mersey, the indication was 14.5 degrees.

Blackberries in January - It is a remarkable fact that ripe blackberries are now frequently to be found in the hedge rows in this part of Devonshire and the borders of Somerset. On the last day of the old year a youth called Nelder, of this town, picked a fine bunch of blackberries on Exeter Hill; and on New Year's Day several blackberries and a fine bunch of ripe ones were also found in the hedge rows near the Ottery Road Station of the South Western Railway Company.


Source: Times, Sheffield Iris.

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