Leeds nostalgia: This week in 1947 - roofs collapse under weight of snow

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This week in 1947, a young Princess Elizabeth was pictured during a tour of South Africa. She was with her father, King George VI and mother, Queen Elizabeth during the official state visit, which took them to one of the hottest countries in the world.

Meanwhile, Great Britain was shivering its way through one of the coldest winters on record, with temperatures into the double-digit minus figures.

People waking up 70 years ago today found feet of snow had been deposited overnight, thanks to a blizzard but throughout the day, temperatures steadily rose, which led to an immediate thaw. In places, roofs collapsed under the weight of snow.

In Burton’s Arcade, Briggate, spouting collapsed and fell into Gale Lister’s Maldano wine shop, smashing dozens of bottles of expensive whiskey, rum and sherry. More pipes and ducting collapsed in Leeds, some from the Maypole Dairy in Market Street Arcade, which narrowly missed shoppers.

The road from Skipton to Grassington became impassable.

The Ministry of Fuel urged all households to be frugal in their use of gas and electricity, saving wherever possible, as national supplies were running low. There was even a statutory prohibition of the use of electricity between 9am and noon and 2pm to 4pm in the North East.

Businesses whose need was deemed essential were allowed to break the curfew but had to introduce reciprocal measures and ensure they reduced their overall consumption of electricity by no less than a third compared to the same period the previous year.

A Government spokesman said: “Proprietors of retail shops, catering establishments, places of entertainment and the like are nevertheless reminded that, with the present severe restrictions pon the private householder, strongest exception will be taken to any unnecessary lighting and heating in such premises, particularly during restricted periods.

“This warning applies also and indeed with special emphasis to premises which generate their own electricity and have hitherto been free from restriction.

“It is essential every possible step possible should be taken by all concerned not only to reduce consumption to a minimum but also to avoid even the appearance of excessive lighting and heating.”

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