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76 of 77 Tue 16th May 2017 2:54pm
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010 Total posts:4771
Great Gale Recalled THIS memorable spell of frost, which the older generation of Coventrians no doubt remember, continued until about March 12th, and was followed on Sunday, March 24, by a gale, the violence of which has probably never been exceeded in living memory. Although this article is concerned primarily with cold winters of the past, this storm was so remarkable that a momentary digression regarding it may justifiably be permitted. It struck Coventry about 1.30 p.m., and the wind reached the astonishing velocity of 86 miles an hour. Within a short space of time — the storm was not a long one — an immense amount of damage had been done. Trees came down like ninepins. It is recorded that in Swan Lane, seventeen trees were down within a hundred yards. Fifty trees were blown down in Folly Lane. Between Gibbet Hill and Westerley Bridge, on the Stoneleigh Road a distance of about a mile — 52 trees lay across the highway. Between St. John’s Church, Kenilworth, and Thickthorn (on the Leamington Road), 27 were down. Such a trail of damage naturally caused tremendous difficulty in road travel, though, as the motor had then to make its first appearance, conditions were not as chaotic as would be the case were so fierce and destructive a storm to occur to-day. Coming as it did, just at the hour of dinner on a Sunday, the number of people about in the streets was fortunately few, and although the gale was the cause of fatalities in some parts of the country, happily there was no loss of life locally, and few people appear even to have been injured, though there were some narrow escapes. And a Big Snowstorm TO return, however, to the subject of severe weather. Another memorably cold winter in Warwickshire was that of 1880-1881. In January 1881, the thermometer fell as low as 3 degrees (29 degrees of frost) on the 15th, was down to 7 and 9 degrees on the two following days, and to 4 degrees on the 22nd. A tremendous snowstorm occurred on January 18. To quote again from Mr. John Gulson’s monthly record, which was being compiled even at that time: “Since the days of railways,” he writes, we have been unaccustomed to have our communications stopped by the snow, but after the storm January 18th came news of trains snowed up on various lines and passengers compelled to remain embedded in a cutting for twelve hours without food. Even between London and Coventry, the traffic was stopped for a night and a day before trains could be dug out. “In Coventry the violence of a strong north-east wind swept the snow through the hedges into every sheltered place, forming deep drifts in the roads and cuttings. The snow effects in some of the lanes were wonderfully grotesque and beautiful, in some places forming caverns overhung with snow; in others the snow wreaths had assumed the resemblance of spiral sea shells of immense magnitude. “On January 25th and 26th, we had a heavy fog, with hoar-frost, covering every branch and spray thickly as it was possible for the trees to support.” In the Twentieth Century THE winters of the present century, severe though some of them have been, have not given extreme cold such as that of 1881 and 1895, though the snowstorms of Christmas 1906 and 1927, and the wartime blizzard of March 1916, may perhaps bear comparison in some measure with that of January, 1881. Of great frosts, there has been none in Warwickshire to compare with that of January-March, 1895, when the winter sports such as skating, so dear to the hearts of the younger generation, were possible for weeks in succession. February, 1917, however, gave us a severe spell of frost in Warwickshire, as did February, 1929, when for seven days in succession the thermometer failed at any time during the twenty-four hours to rise above freezing point. Gone, it would seem, are the Victorian winters when skating took place on the Coventry Canal as late as the middle of March, or when two doctors provided the parish with a wintry thrill. They took part in a pony-trap race on the frozen canal from Longford to Hawkesbury! And few there are, one imagines, who would wish for the return of such severe weather.
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77 of 77 Tue 16th May 2017 8:13pm
Member: Joined Apr 2012 Total posts:151
It is very rare for a cross country race to be cancelled or a training run to be curtailed because of inclement weather. ~ ~ Dec. 13th. ‘Although the weather on Saturday was very bad indeed for cross country running, the Godiva Harriers met as usual in strong force with their friends... and made, considering the state of the ground, the fastest time of the season. The route was by St. John’s Church, up the Birmingham Road to Barrass Lane, over Spon End Bridge and down Hearsall Common to Whor Lane, across to Canley, from there over the Warwick Road to Finham Green, down Green Lane to Coat of Arms Bridge Road then Stivichall Common, by the Old Toll Gate down Warwick Road up Hertford Street home.’ (Times Dec. 17th.) The hares were J. Miles and J. Jephcott and they ran out from the Lamp Tavern. It was a pack run rather than a paper chase because the cost of coloured paper trimmings was prohibitive at 1/- a bag for a newly formed club. Coloured paper would have been necessary for a paper chase as the usual white paper trail would not have shown up in the snow. This was only 10 weeks after the Coventry Godiva Harriers was founded in 1879. Similar reports can be found for all the other dates mentioned above. Notice in modern times, how the sport of cross country running becomes a popular feature for editors of the sports pages of both the local and national newspapers when the weather is so very bad that most other sports fixtures are cancelled!!!