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Festive snowstorm of 1906


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  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

    Perhaps one of the most famous Christmas snow events, Christmas 1906 was a white Christmas for many parts of the UK, although it wasn't until after midnight that the snow arrived in the SE. The run up to Christmas was cold with wintry showers in a NWly flow. A low pressure came down in the flow during Christmas Day and the first snowfalls arrived in Northern Ireland and SW Scotland around lunchtime. This snow spread SEwards during the afternoon reaching the Manchester area by about 8pm. These snowfalls were heavy and intense and although the snowfalls lasted only a couple of hours, depths of snow were 10-30cm in many places. The heaviest snow fell in a band from Manchester to East Anglia. The snow arrived in the SE just after midnight and snow settled in central London itself. People woke up to a very white Boxing Day. The cold spell lasted until the end of the year.

    London, Camden Square: 4.5 inches of snow fell on the night of the 25th December.
    Crowborough: Blizzard with 5 inches of snow Christmas night.
    Southport: Total depth of snow 9.3 inches
    Bolton: Fall of snow of 8 inches on 25th, lighter falls on the 26th, 28th, 29th and 30th produced a depth of 18 to 20 inches of undrifted snow.
    Haverfordwest: Snowstorm with gale on 26th, depth 10 inches by 29th
    Douglas: Between 1 and 2 inches fell from 25th to 30th.
    Dumfries: 5 inches of snow on the night of 25th.
    Dublin: A period of snow and frost set in on morning of 26th and last the 30th.

    Apparently the snow band was travelling at 12.5 miles per hour in the north and 19 miles per hour in the south.

    A comment made in British Rainfall 1906

    "The interesting fact is, however, that a motor car could have kept out of the storm by travelling, without exceedeing the legal speed limit, in the direction of its progress."



    Snow depth map from a copy of British Rainfall 1906 I have


    Times when snow commence


    London Snow by Robert Bridges


    by Robert Seymour Bridges

    When men were all asleep the snow came flying,

    In large white flakes falling on the city brown,

    Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,

    Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;

    Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;

    Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:

    Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;

    Hiding difference, making unevenness even,

    Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.

    All night it fell, and when full inches seven

    It lay in the depth of its uncompacted brightness;

    The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven;

    And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness

    Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:

    The eye marveled--marveled at the dazzling whiteness;

    The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;

    No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,

    And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.

    Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,

    They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze

    Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing;

    Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees;

    Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder,

    "O look at the trees!" they cried, "O look at the trees!"

    With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,

    Following along the white deserted way,

    A country company long dispersed asunder:

    When now already the sun, in pale display

    Standing by Paul's high dome, spread forth below

    His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.

    For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow;

    And trains of somber men, past tale of number

    Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go:

    But even for them awhile no cares encumber

    Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,

    The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber

    At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm they have broken.

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