Leeds nostalgia: November 1947: Back when it was considered safe to skate on lakes and tarns

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Cold weather might be forecast for the UK over the next few weeks but turn the clock back 70 years and it was cold enough to skate on Keighley Tarn.

Health and safety considerations aside, a story ran in the Yorkshire Evening Post on this day in 1947 which said, in a nutshell ‘skating is on at Keighley Tarn’ after ‘12 degrees of frost’ the previous night.

In fact, looking at the story, it seems our forebears were much less risk averse, because it states that only a “large portion” of the tarn was frozen, meaning some parts were not. As if that wasn’t enough, there was also skating on Ilkley Tarn but the story warned readers the ice there was not as thick and could only support “one or two skaters” at a time.

Roundhay Park lake only had “thin ice”, while Harold and Wibsey Parks, Bradford needed “three more days of ice” before they could be skated upon.

As winter tightened its grip, it was Harrogate which recorded the lowest temperature, with 14 degrees of frost. And finally on the weather front, Yeadon Dam, said to be “one of the finest venues for skating” was out of bounds, as it was being drained.

In other news, as with today, housing was high on the agenda, with a national conference held in Harrogate, where all the talk was of creating a new stand-alone town “about the size of Harrogate” but orbiting Leeds, in a bid to solve the city’s overcrowding crisis.

Lewis Silkin, Minister for Town and Country Planning, said he wanted to build a town capable of housing over 60,000 people but added: “The problem is... it must be self-contained, where people can live and work and not a dormitory town. We are experiencing difficulty in finding a suitable site.”