8 Things You Might Not Know About Buxton in Winter
Buxton’s reputation as one of the coldest, wettest and snowiest places in England still stands – even now the climate appears to much milder in winter. And let’s face it, us Buxtonians never quite like to take things for granted – because as we well know, winter weather and heavy snow can make an appearance at any time – not just winter.
We know it’s cold and sometimes and we shout and scream for warmer weather – but Buxton has always taken full advantage of its somewhat chillier climate…
1. In March 2013, Buxton and the surrounding Peak District was struck by a sudden snow storm in just one day. Deep snow meant that all roads into Buxton were closed and the town was cut off for 24 hours. Drifts out in the Peak District in open countryside were as high as 20ft. The Duke of York (in Flagg just outside Buxton) pub landlord and The Bull i’ th’ Thorn (Hurdlow, just outside of Buxton) pub landlord made the headlines because they were snowed in unable to leave their pubs for a number of days. “It’s every man’s dream being trapped in a pub, Mick Coleman, Bull i’ th’ Thorn landlord” was quoted as saying!
Photo credit: Rod Kirkpatrick / F Stop Press
2. In the early 1900s, there was an ‘ice rink’ in the Pavilion Gardens boating lake, for skating, tobogganing and curling. Back in those days, they took full advantage of the icy conditions. Precautions were taken against drowning accidents by lowering the level of the lake before it was frozen.
3. Monday, 2nd June 1975 will be a date which lives long in the memory of all those who could barely believe their eyes at what they saw at a cricket match in Buxton that year. The summer had, up to that point, been a sunny one, and when play started on the Saturday, spectators lined the side of Buxton’s ground to bask in the sunshine and revel in Lancashire’s batting display. And then out of nowhere, snow began to fall, became heavier and the match was stopped. Snow had not fallen so late in England since 1888, and papers reported that East Midlands farmers were saying supplies of new potatoes would be delayed by several weeks.
4. 1947 is generally considered to be the longest spell of snow Buxton (and many parts of the UK) had seen in modern times. From the beginning of January, there were blizzards almost daily, lasting until late March. The railway was heavily relied upon to deliver food to the town.
5. In 1947, German and Italian prisoners helped to clear snow on Fairfield Common!
German prisoners of war dig snow on the A6 just outside Buxton.
6. The North-Western Roadcar Company’s bus would collect passengers from Turner’s Memorial when it served the town during the 50s and 60s. During winter and in bad weather passengers were allowed the comfort of being able to stand under the Thermal Baths’ arcade whilst waiting for the bus to arrive. The bus had seen many bad winters when it was finally withdrawn from service in 1961.
7. Postal workers had it very rough during bad winters. Carrying bags of mail to Fairfield, Ladmunlow and Harpur Hill was hard enough but in winter weather it was very hard indeed.
8. Buxton’s last official white Christmas was in 2013. Christmas Day 2014 was relatively mild – it was only on Boxing Day in 2014 that it all changed and the town was hit by a sudden snow storm which saw deep snow of up to 3ft and many drivers stuck and abandoning their cars.