In the 1947 diary my mum kept she noted how bad the weather was: the snow was heavy; the roads were blocked; the bus was late. On Wednesday 5th February she had a particularly difficult time getting to work:
Went for 8 o clock bus, did not come.
Waited until 9.15 went home to wait until 11 bus.
That broke down, walked to Woolley got Barnsley bus to work.
Arrived at 12.20.
Bus late at night.
It continued to snow every day:
Friday 7th Feb.
Was at Royston Branch [library] all day, frozen silly.
and on February 9th she recorded:
Snow, potatoes very short.
Stayed in all day.
Went to Chapel + stayed in Doreen’s had quite a nice time.
Food supplies were cut off when rail and road transport was halted by the snow drifts and treacherous conditions.
Vegetables were frozen into the ground and completely inaccessible if not completely ruined. In some places they even tried using pneumatic drills to get the vegetables out of the ground.
The severe frost destroyed 70,000 tonnes of potatoes and supplies were rationed: a situation which had not occurred even during the war.
The bad weather continued and on the 10th and 12th of February she recorded that there were power cuts.
Snow, very cold, bus not too bad.
Electricity cut 4 hours.
Went to work bus on time.
Not too bad in day.
Bus late at night.
Coal stocks were low and the blocked roads stopped deliveries to the power stations. What little supplies there were were frozen solid and couldn’t be moved.
Power stations closed and the government introduced rationing of electricity.
Domestic use was limited to 19 hours each day; consumption by industry was curtailed to the extent that many factories closed and four million workers were put out of work; the hours that the radio could be broadcast was limited as was the size of newspapers.
On 13th February Doreen recorded:
J. Williams birthday. She got some lovely presents.
We cannot have the lights on at work from 8.30 to 11.30 and 1.30 to 3.30.
Went to Royston Br. [Branch library] on 4 bus. Not too bad.
The power cuts continued until on 19th February, the Prime Minister (Clement Atlee) was able to inform MPs that the situation had improved despite the dreadful weather because of the efforts of the coal miners who had produced almost 4 million tonnes of coal in the previous week which was 3% more than in the corresponding week in 1946. Stocks at power stations were gradually starting to build up again and the Prime Minister paid tribute to those working in the coal industry and those in road, rail and sea transport for their efforts in shifting the coal despite the appalling conditions.
Power cuts; food supplies under threat; difficulties getting to work; freezing cold: what a terrible year 1947 was proving to be but if you were only nineteen years old it wasn't going to get you down.
films to see;
shoes to buy;
and, on 16th February, holidays to plan:
Got up at 9.30am, lit fire etc.
Went to Chapel at night. Mr Batty preacher!!!
Went in Doreen’s at night discussed holidays. (To be continued...)
I'm a former primary school head teacher now enjoying family history, e-publishing and gardening. I'm the author of "Cabbage and Semolina: Memories of a 1950s Childhood" and was delighted when the book became an Amazon 2015 bestseller in the Social History category. I'm the founder of Spurwing Ebooks which is at http://www.spurwing-ebooks.com for book details and information about new releases and special offers. Details of my books are at https://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-Murray/e/B009R7CRVC and the other books I've published are at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Michael-Murray/e/B007AQZMZK