A256 – Snow, 1947.
|Written By||Brian Triffitt.|
|Comment||Written by Brian Triffitt who lives in Guiseley: January 2014.|
Who of my generation could forget the winter of 1946/47.
We missed the 1933 one, but boy did we have some snow in 1947.
Winters in those days used to be cold anyway, but not with the snows like we had in 1947.
The frosty season usually started about November, unlike the homes of today we didn’t have double glazing or central heating (unless of course you had paraffin stove in the middle of the room).
I remember the house on a frosty morning being very cold, even to look out of the house to see what the weather was like you had a job on scraping the frost off the windows (and that was on the inside.)
The kids of today don’t know how lucky they are.
We didn’t have far to go to school from our Moorland Estate down to Guiseley Secondary Modern school on Oxford Road.
So before school you would be out on the footpaths making slides, then when you got to school you would make some more in the playground, every break that you had from your lessons you would be out in the playground sliding, I remember I was always into my dad’s shoe and boot repair box and hammering more studs into my boots so that I could slide better, and then of course after school you would be off home to continue sliding on the slides that you had made in the morning, it was so cold they didn’t get the chance to melt out.
But then when the snows came everything changed, we had never seen so much, and it was so deep that nothing could move.
Milk was delivered by horse and cart, but even the milkman struggled because in those days, he had to carry milk from his cart in a 3 gallon milk urn to each household and measure it out into the house holders milk jug, when it was empty he would have to return to his cart to refill his 3 gallon from either a 10 or 12 gallon urn, so when you look back at things like that, and the conditions, it was not an easy job.
Back in those days we all got a bottle of milk at school, a small bottle measuring a third of a pint, fitted with a cardboard top with a piece in the centre you could push through for the drinking straw, of course at that time with the weather so cold the milk was frozen and it used to lift the top off the bottle. We used to stand the bottles on the central heating pipes that ran around the classroom until the milk lolly sank back into the bottle. The cardboard top also had another use, and that was to wind some wool around and through the drinking straw hole until you could do no more, tie it off leaving a long length of wool as a tail then cut all the way round the outer edge, and low and behold you had made a pom pom, or you could collect the tops thread them onto a piece of string to see who could collect the most.
Because the snow was so bad the council had to get bulldozers to clear the roads, but they always left that last inch or so on the road and when that froze it made it very slippy. I can remember the milk man going around with big wooly socks over his boots just to give him a better grip.
When the bulldozer came up Moor Lane it went as far as Ripley Lane (just above Mount Pleasant) and it left a pile of snow about 8 or 9 feet high, well with road conditions as they were that was a fantastic launching pad from which to set forth on your sedge. I only, from what I can remember did it twice, and that was to go from Ripley Lane, down Moor Lane, past Carlton Lane bottom, down Town Street, past Union Street, Towngate, and down to Green Bottom. The road was like an Olympic track, nothing or no one about, it was ours. Twice was enough, it was good but the walk back up to Ripley Lane took too long, and whilst you were walking all that way back you were missing all the fun.
During a normal snowy winter most of our sledging was done in Bob Abbishaw’s field which is now home to The Lilacs just off Kellcliffe Lane, Bob Abbishaw was a local butcher with a shop at the Town Gate end of Union Street, and in its last years was run by Stanley Kay who was the cousin of Joyce and Margaret Kay, their father J B Kay had the shop next door that used to be Dibbs grocers. Joyce Kay later went on to marry my cousin Harry Baldwin who at that time was gardener for the Busfield family who lived down at the bottom of Wills Gills,and owners of Albion mills. Joyce and Harry later took over another local shop in those days which was schoffields groceries and is now headmaster barbers shop.
The other field that we used to use a lot for sledging was one of local farmer and cattle dealer Tom Penny who lived just after the Manor House up Town Street Guiseley, the field now holds the houses of Willow Gardens and The Sycamores.
All in all 1947 was a harsh winter but as kids we still had a lot of fun, even if at the end of the day you went home wet through, frozen half to death, there was still a good coal fire in the grate to get you warm again, but that was after your toes and fingers stopped tingling, then it was a nice pot of tea and a couple of slices of dripping and bread and probably a spread of Marmite on top.
Oh happy days.
I was 11 years old in 1947, living in Guiseley and remember the deep snow very well, in places four foot deep. The lasting memories are of the last traces of it lasting until Easter as myself and a few friends walked through Hawksworth village and on to Ilkley Moor via Burley-Wood Head into Ilkley to catch a train back to Guiseley.
The name on the piece ‘Snow’ grabbed my attention.
A Brian Triffitt was a fellow member of Aireborough Clarion Cycling Club in the mid 50’s, could it be the same ?
12 April 2014.
Yes that’s me, still kicking around, still in Guiseley.
13 April 2014.
Great memories Brian, I have recently written a piece about the Clarion CC, for the Web item but advancing years make it difficult to remember names. If I am correct David Jenkinson was one of your friends. I believe it was you who used to bring a tape recorder up to the Clarion club house at the mid week meetings when we had fun making up our recorded programmes. How about some of your Clarion memories. I live in Bramley now but enjoed reading your snow memories.
20 April 2014.
Hi clansman, yes, those were the days, one of the best times of my life. It’s funny you should mention about writing about our memories of our Clarion days that’s another one I was going to write about along with one on our local budgerigar society. You mentioned David Jenkinson my mate sadly david died just 4 years ago, 20-6-2010, we were mates right up to the end. By the way who are you in real life, and yes I’m still here in Guiseley.
24 June 2014.
Hi Brian, sorry I missed your post of 2014. So sorry that David J passed away, I remember borrowing Dick Whitely’s tandem with David and had fun trying to master the heavy machine, I believe David worked at Silver Cross now long gone.
I wonder if you remember me, David Horner, now 81 years, a few health problems but not too bad. Moved from Guiseley to Horsforth now to Bramley. Worked at Leeds University as a scientific photographer until I retired in 2001. Although I’ve been very lucky in the working in Hong Kong on a Winston Churchill Fellowship in the 1980’s
07 September 2017.
Consolidated by Jack Brayshaw. 02 September 2022.
Last updated: 02 September 2022.