Compo

Winter 1962-63 in Notts

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When it thawed they expected the Trent to flood the Meadows area: All the lino & rugs were taken up & sofa, chairs, tables, cooker, etc were put on bricks so they wouldn't get wet. (Back part of house was already soaked from the burst pipe) At Trent Bridge school cupboards, desks & everything else was lifted off the floor on breeze blocks. All this & it never did flood, but the Trent came up pretty high so a close run thing..

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i remember it well ,i had a paper round morning and night it froze solid for nearly 3months from january i kept falling down people used to spread coal ash outside so you wouldnt slip.there was snow hanging from roof gutters 4feet in length when it thawed there was burts pipes all over the houses.

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I was at BGS then. For me it was a great winter as the frozen school fields meant we could not play hockey! Brilliant! I hated games. Instead they taught us square/barn dancing and that was a great laugh.

We couldn't play rugby either, too dangerous on a frozen pitch, instead we had to play football, much hated by BGS staff apart from Mr Wombwell, who'd apparently had played pro for Barnsley FC.

Looking at peoples recollections of that winter, it's the smog that stands out for me, it was green! You could taste the sulphur which came pouring out of the coke ovens at Stanton Ironworks which was only a couple of miles away from Bilborough, also, most people had coal fires which added to the flavour of the smog. Our only source of heat at home was a coal fire in the living room which was kept burning 24 hours a day, I remember my old man trying to clear it out and build it up early in the morning before he cycled off to work at Blacks Printers in Sherwood Street. Our only alternative source of heat was a paraffin stove which used to be swapped between the bathroom and my bedroom when I had a lot of homework to do. I used to cycle every day to BGS, lights blazing, those big old cardboard batteries didn't last long, probably took up most of the family budget to keep me going. If the smog was really bad, BGS used to shut up an hour early, I'd cycle back along Glaisdale Drive and try to avoid the parked Talbots which had paraffin hurricane lamps put out in the road next to them in the vain hope that someone driving past would see them.

I recall the Romany family that lived on the land next to Jackson's farm down the 'Black Path', they lived in a green canvas tent with a stove belching smoke out the centre. Every night they bought their pony into the tent, I can't imagine what conditions were like for them living in that place.

The Nottingham Canal was frozen solid, we used to take my pals neighbour's Border Colley 'Chips' for a walk, harness him up to the sledge and play 'Scott of the Antarctic', it was fine as long as you avoided the thin ice under the bridges.

You've no doubt seen these before, but some pics taken by my brother off the footbridge at Trowell Junction during the big freeze.

trwl1a.jpg

trwl2a.jpg

You can see the smog in this one.

trwl3a.jpg

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i well recall going down woodthorpe drive sideways,in a marsdens/farrands van (which i should'nt have been useing at night) and being worried as i passed the 'general managers house,.....

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I recall going out to Foraky's on the Colwick Industrial Estate 62/63 winter as a young apprentice with an electrician to do some work. Knock off time we set off down the road to catch our bus back to town, the roads on the estate being private, hadn't been gritted. We got to the "tee" intersection and a truck was trying to negotiate the turn, he just went into spin mode, ended up pointing in the opposite direction.

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So many with memories. For myself I had just got married. We had a flat on Derby Road but I was in the RAF at Hemswell in the wilds of Lincs. The trouble I had getting home weekends to my bride was indescribably but love's a fierce motivator.

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Was Blacks printers behind the Hole in the Wall pub..or up at the top near the hardy Hanson's pub?

It was next door to the Hole in the Wall pub, there's a photo of the print works on 'Picture the Past'.

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Cheers Pete,was there a fire there about '70-'71?..seem to remember a small chapel on same side ..almost opposite National garage.

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Firbeck #28: thanks for those super photos. Made my day. Good on yer.

nyanne #32: Do they still have the massive boot sale on Sundays at Hemswell?

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Cheers Pete,was there a fire there about '70-'71?..seem to remember a small chapel on same side ..almost opposite National garage.

After working at Blacks since before the war as a compositor, my old man left the company in the mid 60's and moved to Hill and Tylers in Basford. I recall the place as being quite grim and dark, there was a coal fired boiler in the basement that originally drove a steam engine that connected to all the printing presses by a system of belts. I don't know when it finally closed down, presumably my old man had an inkling of this when he chose to leave, though I gather Hill and Tyler paid him a lot more money than Blacks did. Probably the place had shut down by the time of the fire, there are pics on Picture the Past, but you can't download them anymore, unless you pay of course.

He used to cycle to work everyday until he bought a Raleigh RSW moped in 1964 (ATO 448 B!!! how do I remember that!), though I seem to recall that things got so bad in the 'Big Freeze' that he often caught the bus.

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Firbeck #28: thanks for those super photos. Made my day. Good on yer.

Thank my brother Compo, he'd just got his Hanimex 35mm camera for Xmas and was quite keen to try it out. These were taken off the original prints, I still have the negs somewhere which my all singing and dancing scanner will probably enhance no end.

It must have been quite interesting driving a steam loco in those weather conditions, the 8F's and 'Aussies' had reasonably enclosed cabs, driving a 4F with it's half cab must have been a nightmare, particularly in reverse as they often did, all they had for protection then was a bit of canvas, 'Elf and Safety' would have had a field day with all that canvas flapping about.

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#62 nyanne I worked at Hemswell on a married quarters refurb during the mid 70s. If I remember correctly in your time was it not a missile base for the Thor nuclear missiles? I heard when I was there that the base went to full alert during the Cuban missile crisis but not sure if that is true.

And yes it is a bleak place that bladdy wind is murder.

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Funnily enough I just watched a BBC program on You Tube last night called "Cold War Britain." Some of you may have seen it. Apparently there was a series of these missile bases up and down the UK. Don't know where the nearest one to Nottingham may have been. According to the program even the prime minister of the day was not fully briefed on them. It was said that the US considered a pre-emptive strike on the USSR at the time of Cuba. That would have made us right on the front line for retaliation. I still strongly remember the Cuban missile crisis of October 62, just before that cold winter of 63. We will probably never know just how near we came to kissing our rear ends goodbye in those few days. The cold would have been the least of our worries!

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Apparently there was a series of these missile bases up and down the UK. Don't know where the nearest one to Nottingham may have been.

I remember seeing the Thor missiles at Coleby Grange not far from Waddington in Lincolnshire - you could see them from the main Lincoln to Grantham road.

There's the full story on the following website, apparently the bases were in an arc stretching from Yorkshire to Suffolk:

http://harringtonmuseum.org.uk/ThorUK.htm

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I remember the 46/47 & the 62/63 winter snows for 2 very different reasons but both with a rail connection,. In Jan./Feb.1947 I was doing a very physical course near Towyn, mid Wales, whilst in the R.Marines when just finishing the midday meal on the Friday the Sergeant shouted out "Pack your bags, your on leave". Almost all the camps in the UK closed down for 2 weeks known as 'King Cole' leave the weather was that bad! What a scramble, 300 or so 'bods' trying to get on a 3 coach train, I had a very uncomfortable night on Crewe platform arriving home at 8 am next morning! The porters kept the waiting room fire so well stoked up there was a semi circle of vacant space in front of it with a constant moving as people were either too hot or frozen at the back when the door was opened to the arctic cold

As Firbecks photo's show conditions were as bad in 1963, a BR fireman now and whilst passenger workings were bad freight traffic was chaos, imagine Beeston sidings for instance, trying to sort coal wagons into different trains using hand operated points for the different 'roads', those pits up the Leen valley had to be kept working but the bottleneck just grew! As for 'long distance trains' the rule was extra 'snap' & mashings and expect me when you see me!

Firbecks remark re. tender first working on class 4's rang a bell, refreshing in the summer, uncomfortable in the rain & diabolical in the winter!

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Apart from the odd occasion they did keep the trains running though - unlike today, when they stop at the merest hint of leaf-fall or snow. The advent of DMUs and other such mardy-arse train sets disposed of the important fitting that kept things going....SANDERS!

The last time I was at Hemswell airfield was a Sunday about ten or eleven years ago. I was busily sorting through the massive selection of car-boot junk when I heard the distinctive sound of a Lancaster bomber. I looked up just in time to see a Lanc. appear over the horizon and fly past at tree-top height. What a splendid sight it was too!

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Did you know that Hemswell, not Scampton, was used to film 'The Dambusters' back in 1954. Their Lincoln squadrons were used as stand in Lancaster backdrops, well, who would know the difference.

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I didn't know that, Firbeck.

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They also shot 'Night Bombers' there.

If I remember correctly about the only Dambusters shot taken at Scampton was at the end of the film were Richard Todd walks down the main drive way.

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They also shot 'Night Bombers' there.

If I remember correctly about the only Dambusters shot taken at Scampton was at the end of the film were Richard Todd walks down the main drive way.

Not according to what I read, hardly owt was filmed at Scampton.

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Yep if you mean the Dambusters I have checked apparently there is still confusion about what was filmed were, many say the end shot was shot at Scampton itself pointing out the slightly different buildings. Like you say hardly owt was filmed there but most are adamant that this scene was shot there.

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If you'd asked the question about four years ago, before he passed away, I could have asked my wife's uncle. He would have been able to tell you where every scene involving the Lancs was filmed.

He was one of the Polish pilots borrowed from the RAF for the film. :)

http://www.ww2rafcollection.co.uk/RAF_Collection/RAF_Log_Book_(Ted_Szuwalski).html

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