The Winter of 46-47

Memories of Collyweston – Winter 1946-47 (Author unknown)

The snow started falling in December, but Christmas travel was not affected. Buses continued to run on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Then the weather worsened, leaving the villages between Wothorpe Hill and Kettering cut off for 2 or 4 days. Collyweston people tried to walk or cycle to work. There were, however, no deliveries of bread or milk for a week.

Ted Jackson and a group of stalwarts decided to walk to King’s Cliffe for bread and cakes, via Collyweston Wood and Westhay. Then on to the Turner’s Arms for a pint and a game of darts, eating cakes while there and returning home at 3.30pm. When the baker next called, a surprised Mrs Jackson was asked to pay for cakes she had never even seen!

It was not long after the war so there was a shortage of snow ploughs, and road salt was not yet in use. When the buses stared running again it was very hazardous with walls of snow higher than the double deckers. The route was diverted through Spring Close Field then back onto the road again somewhere before the Rectory at Duddington.

Icicles at least 3 feet long hung from the roofs and the cold was intense, even indoors. This had the effect of increasing the trade at the Bluebell, the Slaters Arms and the Engine where villagers went for warmth and entertainment.

Some of the water supplies to the crew (cattle) yards were frozen up. To thaw them out a long stick soaked in burning paraffin was use. Water was fetched by a horse drawn, 3 wheeled cart, from the spring in Hall Paddock for livestock on Manor Farm.

A team of prisoners of war from the camp in Empingham Road, Stamford, was used to clear The Drove up to the council houses. Two young German POWs also worked at Manor Farm.

The severe weather was followed by hurricane force winds on Sunday 16th March with much damage to property. One villager, visiting relatives in Back Lane couldn’t stand up to the full force of the wind when she came out to leave and had to stay the night. The next morning she had to negotiate slates, chimney pots and other debris as she walked home.

The bulbs alone seem to have appreciated their hard treatment. That spring they bloomed in glorious profusion. Compensating us, just a little, for the harsh winter.

The Drove looking towards main road

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