Most Britons are used to having snow in the UK, despite it being rare.
However, these photos are now colourized to show that the weather conditions were much worse in 20th-century Britain. There was heavy snow and thicked ice a regular occurrence.
Three Metropolitan Police officers are seen ice skating along the River Thames in one of these images, which was released by TopFoto and colored afterwards.
One shows children having fun on sledges as they race downhill. In another, young boys are seen playing at gun positions near Tower Bridge.
This newly colored photo shows how snow and Ice were far more common in 20th-century Britain than they are now. Pictured are three Metropolitan Police officers skating on the River Thames in the winter 1900.
A second photo depicts a group children having fun on a sledge as they speed down the hill. Two severe winters occurred in this decade: 19439/40, and 1946/47.
It was the worst frost to strike Britain since 1895. The frost of 1940 came just after Britain declared war on Nazi Germany.
Average temperatures dropped to 38F (3C), and cold weather continued through February. Some parts of the country saw temperatures drop to as low as -25C.
The River Thames was frozen for the first time since 1960. In some areas, snow covered 4 feet of communities.
Rain fell in the south instead of snow. This meant that trees, telephone poles, power lines, and other vehicles got thick layers of ice, sometimes up to a foot thick.
Due to the necessity to restrict information that could have been helpful to Germany in wartime, details about the UK’s weather were largely kept off the media.
The Daily Mail reported, however, about freezing temperatures in Europe during the same period.
According to the newspaper, it was reported that in Italy, Venice’s gondolas were covered with ice four inches thick. In Rome, however, there was a rash of pipes breaking all across the city.
As he tries to climb over one of the snow-covered canons located near Tower Bridge, a small boy is having the time of her life. This was the coldest winter in Britain since 1895. It began December of the previous year. The frost of 1940 came shortly after Britain declared war on Nazi Germany.
Get together! The boys have just rolled a large snowball. This image was captured in 1940, during two severe winters. The average temperature dropped to 38F in 1940 and the cold continued through February. Some parts of the country saw mercury drop to -25C.
Snowball collecting by a little boy. The River Thames was frozen for the first time in 60 years. In some areas, snow covered 4ft communities.
The 1940s saw a small girl pull a sledge along behind her. The need to restrict information useful to Germany during World War II meant that details regarding the UK weather for 1940 had to be kept away from media outlets.
In the middle of a 1940’s snowstorm, a women’s team ran their marathon. The weather in Europe was severe during 1940’s winter.
Denmark was struck by fuel shortages and dancing halls had to be closed at midnight due to the disruption. Also, the sea froze making it nearly impossible to transport cargo or other goods.
Troops who would ordinarily have had to sail with their equipment across the Great Belt – the strait between the islands of Zealand and Funen – were instead able to drive on the frozen stretch of water.
Sweden had ample coal supply and Norway was able to keep its sailors alive when they were trapped by ice.
The 1967/47 winter was another one that is known for being fierce. This snow caused further hardships on an already traumatized population.
In the southern part of England where there was the most snowfall, the storm which struck the region was its worst since 1891, the highest amounts were recorded. The weather was so cold that temperatures barely rose above zero for several weeks in many villages.
A huge accumulation of snow and ice caused a crisis. Food and coal stocks plummeted and transport slowed to a halt.
Flights were also cancelled and drifts of more than 15ft blocked roads and railways. The snow caused railway lines to become impassible, a major problem for Britain which relies on them to transport goods.
While milkmen in Lincolnshire used sledges for their deliveries, 200 German prisoner of war were waiting to return home to assist with the rescue of dozens trapped passengers on trains bound to Peterborough.
London streets were snowed into during the 1940s. A winter in 1967/47 was another one that is known for being fierce and causing further hardship to a community which just had survived the Second World War trauma.
In the 1940s, children were walking to school through the snow. In 1946/7 the snowfall was greatest in England’s southern regions. This is where the severe blizzard of 1891 struck. The outside world was cut off to villages, and the temperatures barely rose above freezing during weeks.
This family is enjoying the 40s winter weather with their children after they have had a lot of snowfall.
Market Street Mottram, 1940s. A man uses a shovel during harsh winters to remove snow from the streets.
Young girl tests the ice with a sign from HM Office of Works – ‘Danger Anybody going on to the ice will be subject to a five-pound fine
Women’s polo teams practicing in snow. A huge snowfall and ice storm in 1946/7 led to an unprecedented crisis. Stocks of food and coal plummeted. Transport was also halted.
Games and fun: These photos were taken in Britain during the winter of the 1940s.
At the time of heavy snowfall on March 15, there had been snow everywhere in the UK every day since January 22.
The Big Freeze was worse, 15 years later. It brought Britain the coldest winter since 1814.
In Leigh-on-Sea, in Essex, the sea froze – leading it to be dubbed ‘Leigh on Ice’ by the Daily Mail, dozens of lakes and rivers received a covering of ice.
Elsewhere, the weight of snow and ice – which stayed until March – was so great that it weighed down telephone wires until they touched the ground.
Football matches also stopped for months, whilst the Daily Mail sent a helicopter – after the RAF’s own aircraft had been beaten back by the bad weather – to drop food for 33 orphans living at a Church of England care home in the village of East Knoyle, Wiltshire.
Temperatures remained below freezing for more than 2 months. They averaged -2C. They dropped as low as -22C in Braemar (-8F) in Aberdeenshire.
Numerous schools were closed, and thousands of households suffered power outages. Meanwhile snow remained on the ground for over two months in London.
Once again, the River Thames froze. The riverbank had been a common sight in previous centuries. Frozen fayres were also a frequent occurrence.