The Flintham Museum

Weather Watching, 1912-1968

Before fridges and freezers, shopkeepers could easily lose their food stock if the weather was too hot or too cold. Many shopkeepers kept notes of the weather from year to year, so that they could spot patterns and plan their food ordering and food storage accordingly.

Fred White and his daughter, Muriel, ran the Flintham village shop, Nottinghamshire, from August 1911-1982. They jotted down their assessment of the day's weather from the day they opened in pocket-sized books, along with the day's takings, until 1968. After that, notes were kept on scrappy bits of paper which have not yet been sorted and catalogued. Sometimes, the Whites also added snippets of information about people and activities in the village.

As there is currently so much interest in the weather and global warming, we thought it would be interesting to look at particular days and track the weather on that day from year to year using the comments from the weather books. Neither Fred nor Muriel recorded the weather on Sundays, so there are no comments for some years unless the weather was the same on both the Saturday and the Monday.

14 February, St Valentine's Day. Traditionally, this was believed to be the day when birds chose their mates. Can you spot any patterns?

1912 Fine
1913 Fog all day, cold
1914 Rough, dull
1915 Sunday
1916 Cold, showers of sleet
1917 Fine, bright
1918 Fine, dull
1919 Fine, bright
1920 Fine after am, 'Rev Rouse paid'. (Clearly, a red letter day!)
1921 A beautiful day
1922 Fine, cold
1923 Snow storm
1924 Fine, slightly warmer
1925 Cold and wet
1926 Fine and bright
1927 Fine, slight fog, milder
1928 Wind and showers 'big trees all down, a tragedy to beauty'. (This comment followed one on February which ran, 'Maltbys started having the large trees taken down, a perfect wicked job, spoils the look of the village'. The Maltbys and the Whites were very good friends and one wonders whether the tree incident dented their friendship for a short time.)
1929 Hard frost, fine 'Skating on the lake started'. (The frost did not end until February. At the end of that year, Fred clipped a newspaper cutting in to the book which said that February had been the coldest for years. The lake was in the grounds of Flintham Hall.)
1930 Mist all day, cold
1931 Fine, dry, cold
1932 Sunday
1933 Fine, bright, cold
1934 Fine, dull
1935 Cold and fine, 'Day in bed'. (This was such an unusual event that it was clearly worthy of recording.)
1936 Fine and cold
1937 Wet after tea, 'Singer died'. (This was probably one of the many cats kept by the Whites, whose deaths they recorded.)
1938 Frost, snow, wind
1939 Fine, dull, cold
1940 Frost, slight snow, 'Worst winter weather for years'.
1941 Fine afternoon, rain early
1942 Very cold, dry
1943 Sunday
1944 Fine, dull, cold
1945 Fine, bright
1946 Fine, dull
1947 Still frosty, very cold
1948 Dully, fairly fine
1949 Fine, bright and mild
1950 Fine, bright, very cold
1951 Rain all day, cold
1952 Fine, bright, cold
1953 Snow showers, cold
1954 Sunday
1955 Fine, dull, cool
1956 Shower, very cold
1957 Fine, bright, cool
1958 Fine, showers, mild
1959 Fine, slight rain, dull, cold 'Alan Cartledge married at Flintham'. (Marriages usually took place at the church in the bride's parish, so perhaps that is why this marriage is recorded as being 'at Flintham'.)
1960 Fine, bright, cold
1961 Fine, bright, warmer 'Warmest day for years in February'.
1962 Fine, bright, very cold
1963 Dull, snow and rain showers, cold (the day before the bees had been out for a 'cleansing flite'. Muriel's spelling was never very good!)
1964 Fine, dull, cold rain or snow showers later
1965 Sunday
1966 Fine and bright, cold
1967 Fine, bright, very cold wind
1968 Fine, brighter, cold


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