Half a century ago the UK was in the grip of a brutal winter. How did they cope then and how does it compare with now?The terrible winter of 1962-3 has become a sort of legend, second only to the even worse winter of 1947. I remember the winter of 63, but not that of 47, I hasten to add. I was nine years old and can remember it well. I used to walk to school (only a mile or so) and the snow was about two feet deep in my road. It had a hard crust on top, and if you were careful you could walk on that, but if you broke through the surface, the snow was crotch-deep (for a small boy) and very uncomfortable. As in the article, on more than one occasion I went to school on my sledge. My Mum worked in the same area as my school, so a ready packhorse was available. I didn't even have to push.
Happy memories. Life went on, trains moved, things were delivered, shops were open, people got on with their lives. Two specific memories that are still with me: one was my Dad putting a small paraffin greenhouse heater under the engine of the car every night so that it would start in the morning, and the other was waking up to find that the water in the glass by my bedside had frozen solid in the night. The house was very cold (no central heating or double glazing then) but my bed had plenty of blankets and there was always a lovely open fire downstairs. I don't remember suffering at all.
But 'half a century ago' ... centuries, that's history and stuff, isn't it?