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Kent's snowfalls have nothing on Big Freeze of 1963

By Danny Boyle
The Winter of early 1963 was so severe that coal barges were frozen on the Medway at Rochester
The Winter of early 1963 was so severe that coal barges were frozen on the Medway at Rochester

The winter of early 1963 was so severe coal barges were frozen on the Medway at Rochester

As we shiver in sub-zero temperatures and mop up after our weekend snowfall, spare a thought for those who lived through Kent's winter of 1963.

While our snow has been measured in inches, the snow of exactly half a century ago made the record books for chilling reasons.

The winter of 1963.
The winter of 1963.

Riverways were impassable as parts of Kent became landlocked

On the 50th anniversary of what became known as The Big Freeze of 1963, we look back at the year the sea froze in Kent.

The temperatures had in fact started to plummet in the previous December, with a large amount of snowfall on Boxing Day leading to reports of 18 inches of snow in Gravesend and drifts up to 8ft deep.

Frozen sea, Marine Parade, Sheerness, in Feb 1963
Frozen sea, Marine Parade, Sheerness, in Feb 1963

Frozen sea, Marine Parade, Sheerness, in Feb 1963

By January 1963 it was so cold the sea at Herne Bay had completely frozen a mile out from shore.

The river Medway was also affected, with mini icebergs seen floating - while the Navy had to use an icebreaker to keep Chatham dockyard open.

Youngsters make the most of the big freeze in Mote Park lake during the dreadful winter of 1963.
Youngsters make the most of the big freeze in Mote Park lake during the dreadful winter of 1963.

Youngsters make the most of the big freeze in Mote Park lake during the dreadful winter of 1963

More snow fell during February, which was accompanied by strong winds, before the thaw finally began in early March.

The day the sea froze in 1963
The day the sea froze in 1963

The day the sea froze in 1963

Do you remember the Big Freeze of '63? Share your recollections of the long winter by joining the debate below.

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