Snow, sun, wind and rain we’ve had our share of harsh weather across Staffordshire over the years


Come wind, sun, rain or snow, we who call

North Staffordshire

our home have never given in to the elements.

Instead, we tend to roll up our sleeves and pull together as a community, while making the best of any situation.

FLOODING IN NORTON GREEN 1987

We all have our memories of those scorching summers, the hottest on record as we are told each time, and the most bitter of winters when lakes froze, schools stayed open and snowballs flew.

Over the past few months, we here at TWWW have been hearing some of those treasured memories of yours from when the snow fell so fierce it reached the top of houses, to how walking was the only option to get to work.

As Suzie Capey says: “I remember all the adults and kids in New House Road, Madeley Heath, digging out so people could get to work. There was no nonsense then.”

Janice Sadler remembers being in the thick of it, quite literally, in the early 1980s.

She said: “I recall the awful snow in 1981. But when we were young we couldn’t wait for the snow so that you could put on your boots and walk to school.

“The snow was so deep that it fell into your boots – no school closures for us.”

Of all the sub-zero winters to have come knocking on the shores of the UK, that of 1963 is perhaps the one which sticks in many of our memories all these years later.

That’s certainly the case for June Lally Baker, who said: “1962/63 was when we really had snow. The time the Thames froze. I can still remember it even now and how cold it really was.”

For Madeleine Buckley, that winter brings back some warm and happy thoughts of her parents.

She said: “My dad was in the North Staffs Hospital and we had to walk home to Sandford Hill.

The Red Cow pub in Werrington partly obscured by snow in 1935.

“A lovely man gave mum and me a lift to Longton – he wouldn’t have any money either.

“I definitely remember pushing a double decker bus up Anchor Road so people could get home to Bentilee too. The only time the buses stopped was when it was too foggy.”

Living in what were far simpler times, Pat Winfield remembers her journeys home from school during winter.

“We had to walk home from school in Tunstall to Stoke,” she said. “All the mothers were out in the street waiting for us – no mobile phones in those days and no landlines in the house.”

Margaret Morse has similar memories, and wouldn’t have had it any other way.

She said: “I lived in the bottom of Hanley near to the channel that was my swimming pool.

“I had to walk to the school in Broom Street until l was 11, and then to Wellington Road School.

“Hanley town and Northwood Park were our playground. Get the kids of today to do that. It builds you up for the life ahead.”

Unlike today, back in the 1960s when the snow fell and canals froze the schools kept going.

Ken Broomhall said: “I walked from the bottom of Bentilee estate to the top to ‘Willfield’ in deep snow, and we did cross-country in shorts/T-shirt and pumps.

We love nostalgia – it’s a key part of what we do here at StokeonTrentLive.

So much so that we’ve got a dedicated Facebook group – that’s all about nostalgia!

It’s called Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Nostalgia.

It’s a look at the history and heritage of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, including local places and faces, lost buildings and industries, military history and a nod to our proud past.

You can read more nostalgia stories as well as join in with the conversation – sharing your own recollections and photographs.

We look forward to seeing you in our group!

“Teachers were always there before us, so school never shut due to the snow – one inch of snow now and it’s panic stations.”

His memories of school are shared by Pam Sproson, who said: “I remember in 1963 going to school every day and walking across Tunstall Park Lake.”

And there was no sight of being dropped off outside the school gates back in the day.

Glynn Myatt recalls: “I remember back then walking to school in snow when I was eight. No ride to the school gate in a car, just sent on our way.”

Many of you reading this will no doubt have vivid recollections of your parents and neighbours having to clear the drives and paths, salting and gritting to keep things going.

Digging out during some of the worst snow storms was an arduous affair, but something which had its fun moments too.

Rob Donkin said: “My dad dug a snow tunnel from the back door to the front gate of our house. Absolutely fantastic memories.”

For Winifred Valerie Colclough, trudging through the wintry winds and drifts was a matter of delivering good news to her aunty.

“It was January 20, 1945, the night my sister was born,” she said. “Dad and I had to shovel the snow away so I could get out and get to my Aunty Aggie’s further up to tell her the news.

“I remember the snow was way over the top of my wellies.”

Lightening over the Potteries

However, for Kath Charlton, traversing the Staffordshire tundra was more about getting to work and back home safely.

She said: “I worked at Wedgwood and the buses did not turn up, so they sent out a open top wagon to get us to work, but we had to walk home after work and I lived in Trent Vale. It took about two hours.”

Recalling happy memories from her childhood during the winter of 1963, Patricia Miller said: “The snow was wonderful.

“Having trudged into our secondary modern, Ball Green School, our P.E. teacher offered a choice – the majority of us went out in our kit into the snow.”

Read More

The Way We Were around North Staffordshire

One issue shared by, and perhaps still familiar with many, was frozen pipes – more specifically those in the bathroom.

Margaret Pearsall said: “The toilets where I worked were frozen up. We had to get buckets of water to flush them in 1963.

“It was a contrast to the summer in 1976 when we couldn’t use a hosepipe because of the water shortage.”

But away from the hardships and cold of such brutal winters, snowfall can bring joy for many, especially children.

Margaret James fondly recalls: “The winter of 1963 is etched in my head. I remember we had a snowball fight with one side of Bernard’s Road versus the other side. It was a brilliant day in Knutton.”





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