Leeds nostalgia: Fog brings UK to standstill...

editorial image
Have your say

Datelines: November 1948: There will still be people alive today who remember the ‘pea soupers’ which often plagued the city - they were a combination of fog and smoke from factories and other industry.

This ‘smog’ often reduced visibility to near zero, even to the point where people could barely see their hand in front of their face.

This day 70 years ago in Leeds was one such occasion, as evidenced by the picture which appeared on the front of the Yorkshire Evening Post. The accompanying caption said that crossing The Headrow was “a dangerous business”, the picture shows a police officer helping members of the public cross the road.

Indeed, the fog was so bad that many football matches had to be cancelled and some ships ran ashore. It was the sixth successive day of thick fog.

The advice to members of the public was “go home early”. In Bradford, firemen had to run in front of the engine carrying torches of paraffin-soaked rope. Ilkley Tarn was frozen over and in London Thames shopping was halted.

And finally, last week, we reported on the “flashover” which led to a mass power cut across Leeds, following an accident at Kirkstall Power Station. One man was knocked off his feet and his clothes set on fire by the electrical feedback and two others were injured when they went to try and save him. A week on and the YEP carried on its front page the tragic news that one of the three, William Westerman, 47, had died of his injuries.

He was the man thrown off his feet as he flicked a switch which shortcircuited because of fog and ice.

One of the other men who helped him, Frank Ledger, 19, of Hoxton Place, was said to be progressing favourably. The third man, Douglas Hudson, 42, was released with minor injuries.