Leeds nostalgia: Ice floes three miles long in North Sea and iceberg as far south as Bruges... this week in February 1947

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ICE floes up to three miles long were hampering shipping in the North Sea during one of the coldest winters of the last century.

It was so cold that an iceberg ran aground near Ostend, close to Bruges, Belgium and just north of Calais.

Fishing vessels leaving Hull had to return to port because all the drinking water in their tanks froze. One skipper said: “I have never seen anything like it before. The weather is so bitter it is only possible to work on deck for an hour at a time.” All of the boats returning from the North Sea were cloaked in ice.

The large mass of ice was said to be drifting westwards across the sea at a rate of about five miles a day.

At Roundhay Park, Leeds, the recorded overnight temperature on February 14 was eight degrees below freezing. A report in the Yorkshire Evening Post from the time said the cost to the city of clearing snow was already at £40,000 and was costing around £3,000 a day.

1947 was also a time of rationing, which affected everyone, regardless of their station in life. The YEP ran a rare picture of comedian Oliver Hardy, sitting alongside the wife of Stan Laurel (who was born in Heckmondwike), as they applied for their ration books by candlelight in London.

Meanwhile, a railway porter who admitted stealing a parcel of stationary and whom was caught as he climbed over a wall at Hunslet Lane goods yard, was fired. John Charles Hields, 40, said he wanted to sell the goods to get money for cigarettes.

Would the lady who contacted us last week about the previous week’s story about the first Leeds triplets from 1947, please get in touch again: neil.hudson@ypn.co.uk

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