May Day Weather 1912-1968

The first day of May was traditionally a time for merry making. It was sometimes known as Garland Day because young men and women gathered flowers and made them into garlands which were carried around their community. The origins of celebrations on 1 May are lost but probably began when people wanted to thank a number of deities for the end of winter and the arrival of better weather. Christianity accepted and embraced the customs, and turned a blind eye to some of the excesses of celebrating. There were attempts to ban May Day celebrations in the late-sixteenth and seventeenth centuries but the spirit of rebirth and regeneration was too strong and, although many of the activities were 'watered down', they continued. Indeed, they still continue. May Day is recognised as a Bank Holiday and all sorts of events are organised around the country.

At Flintham, Nottinghamshire, Fred White, the village shopkeeper, kept a note of the day's weather from 1911. His daughter carried on the tradition until the 1970s. So, it is possible to see whether the May Day weather in Flintham was suitable for an outdoor celebration. Looking down the list below there were a number of years when any planned event would have been rained off. Some May Days were cold enough to make sense of the traditional saying 'cast not a clout till May be out'. Anyone planning a May Day walk in 1967 probably looked out of the window and decided to stay at home!

1912???Fine, warm. Rent paid
1913???Fine, warm, bright
1914???Showers, very cold
1915???Showers, wet night
1916???Showers, bright
1917???Fine, bright, beautiful day
1918???Fine, bright
1919???Fine, bright
1921???Sunday (The shop was not open on Sundays so the weather was not recorded)
1922???Fine and bright, rain night
1923???Very dull, fine
1924???Fine all day
1925???Cold with rain
1926???Heavy rain till 4pm. General coal strike commenced
1928???Dull and damp morning
1929???Rain showers. Chesterfield trip (Fred White worked at Chesterfield, 1900-1910, and had many friends there)
1930???Fine, bright
1931???Fine, bright
1933???Fine, bright, cool
1934???Very bright, fine, warm
1935???Fine , bright, cool
1936???Hot, bright, fine
1937???Warm, fine, bright
1939???Rough, cold
1940???Fine, dull, visit to Chesterfield
1941???Fine, bright, cold wind, first swallow
1942???Fine, bright
1943???Fine, very cold wind
1944???Fine, bright
1945???Fine, very cold
1946???Fine, dull
1947???Rough and cold
1948???Wet and very cold all day
1950???Fine, bright, warmer
1951???Fine, bright, cold
1952???Fine, showers, dull, cooler
1953???Fine, bright, cool. Mrs Bond bought ladies cycle (Muriel clearly thought this was an event worth noting)
1954???Fine, bright, cooler
1956???Fine, bright, warmer
1957???Fine, bright, warm
1958???Fine, bright, very warm
1959???Fine, heavy showers, cool
1961???Fine, bright, warmer, rain later
1962???Fine, dull, bright, later cool
1963???Rain, heavy, brighter, later cool
1964???Fine, showers, cool
1965???Fine, bright, cooler
1967???Dull, snow and hail showers, cold
1968???Dull, cool shower, bright later


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