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History on 16th February


Battle of Great Torrington

Angel of the North Completed

Heaviest British Snowfall

Ashburton, Devon The 16th of February 1929 AD

On February 16 1929 Britain had its greatest ever snowfall in one day – in fact a mighty storm of 15 hours’ duration – around Holne and Ashburton at the southeast corner of Dartmoor. More than 6 feet of snow were recorded in that time (182cm). It is said that trees fell under the weight of snow on their branches; and of course the predicament of drivers was even worse then than now, with less powerful vehicles and far more basic tyres.
The winter of 1928-29 was one of the most severe on record: it is estimated that at one point the ice on Windermere was supporting the weight of 50,000 people; a few daring undergraduates managed to skate from Cambridge to Ely and back on the Cam and the Ouse; skaters flocked to the Royal Parks in London too. And normally mild Hampshire had 150 hours of continuous frost.
Dartmoor has a history of notable snowstorms: in the equally extreme winter of 1891 it recorded our second largest snowfall, with around 4’ 9” (150cm).
As global warming is associated with such extreme weather events, we can expect a few more of them in the coming years, with December 2010 already in the memory banks.

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Comment

From nick martin on 18th January 2013
I was interested in your comment on skating on the Ouse in 1929 - Cambridge to Ely and return. I had a photograph of my grandfather doing just that (on his way to Ely) during that severe winter - flat hat and skates screwed to his boots (none of the modern, fancy stuff!) - and he was 50 at the time! As a kid I could scarcely believe it!

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Let everyone regulate his conduct... by the golden rule of doing to others as in similar circumstances we would have them do to us, and the path of duty will be clear before him. - William Wilberforce
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On this day:
Battle of Sampford Courtenay - 1549, Battle of Preston - 1648, First Pedestrian Killed by Car - 1896, Animal Farm Published - 1945
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