Leeds nostalgia: Will it snow this Christmas?

1956: Sledging in Roundhay Park, Leeds.
1956: Sledging in Roundhay Park, Leeds.
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WE all love a bit of the fluffy white stuff at winter time but being honest, can you recall the last time it snowed on Christmas Day?

This year, bookmakers are already taking bets on us having a White Christmas, although the odds differ depending on where you live. In Leeds, they are offering 6/1, compared to 4/1 200 miles away in Edinburgh.

1947: Main Street in Hawes.

1947: Main Street in Hawes.

When it does fall, snow gets us all in the mood, willing to brave the cold and the wet so we can slide, build snowmen and engage in the odd snowball fight. Snowfall at Christmas time is part of an idyll which reaches back to Victorian times and beyond - it has its roots in the deep, dark, distant past.

Looking at these two pictures from our archive, our approach to snow hasn’t changed much in the last 70 years. The main picture was taken in the winter of 1947 - renowned as one of the worst in the 20th century - in Hawes. It shows a horse is pulling a sledge on the left of the phoptograph - the photograph was originally submitted by reader Mary Metcalfe from Threshfield.

The second picture is a little more recent, showing children climbing a path at Roundhay Park in January 1956.

When snow does fall over Christmas, it blankets in soft, white silence. Thick snowfall forces us to change our habits entirely. Roads are suddenly empty, while pavements may be full of lines of folk trudging ever upward, sledge trailing behind, grasped by woollen gloves already wet but as warm as the breath which steams from their mouths.

This is part of the magic of snow, in that it brings people together and reminds us who we are and where we live. It’s something we have been doing since time immemorial, as these pictures clearly show.