How the winter of 1963 meant missed matches at Stoke City and building a bus in the snow…


Recent stories and photos in The Way We Were have been looking back at the weather we’ve experienced in the region over the past century.

Regular reader, and avid Stoke City supporter, Thomas Knowles was reminded of the winter of 1963 and the disruption it brought to the football schedule as well as his own endeavours to restore a bus.

He said: “I was born in 1942 in Longsdon Vicarage a few years before the bad winter in 1947.

“I was 20-years old when the big snowfall of 1962-62 hit and I recall how there was snow all over the places, from the Staffordshire Moorlands to the Potteries.

“There were lots of football cancellations, and due to that the season had to be extended.

“At the time Stoke had an ageing team with some fading stars.

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“I recall it was the lowest points total recorded for a promoted team that year. I think Stoke finished on 53 points with Chelsea and Sunderland on 52.

“Sunderland had to wait another year before they went up.”

Thomas, whose father was a vicar in Trent Vale, recalls just how bad the conditions were during that infamous winter and how he was there when Stoke legend Sir Stanley Matthews’ daughter got married.

“Every night from Boxing Day 1962 to March 1 in 1963 we recorded an air frost.

“It was during the freeze that my father conducted the wedding of Stanley Matthews’ daughter Jean to Bob Gough. I was privileged to attend the wedding and reception at which some Stoke players were present and particularly remember talking to Jackie Mudie who played alongside Stan at Blackpool before both
were playing together again at Stoke City.

Aside from the football Thomas had another main occupation which took his time up – rebuilding a bus which the worsening weather conditions did not help.

He said: “At the time a friend, Roger Dixon, and I bought an old Southdown bus, for £80, for what ultimately turned out to be a failed preservation project.

“Ultimately we had nowhere to keep the bus so we dug out a parking area for it on the Vicarage land. That didn’t work out though so we moved it to the Trent Motor Traction depot in Derby, thanks to their chief Engineer.

“Unfortunately because of a combination of the weather, moving it around and the work of vandals, Thomas and his friend decided to scrap the idea and the bus too.

  • Do you have memories of the winter of 1963 or of the football season being postponed and extended? If so please get in touch with ADAM GRATTON at The Way We Were, Sentinel House, Bethesda Street, Hanley, ST1 3GN or call 01782 864255 or email: adam.gratton@reachplc.com





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