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31 July 2016

18th March 1947: smoked cod fillet for dinner

18 Tues. Moderately mild, but the driving SW wind made it seem cold; some sunny periods and light showers. Bought smoked cod fillet locally: I had it for dinner it was very nice. Also to Merton but there was no cats meat. Bought two fence stakes at Smaldons’ in afternoon. Played a card game & draughts with Laurie, he won every game. Alf & Lily called to say they had had a letter from Ruby saying Uncle Dick was ill and in Nelson hospital.

30 July 2016

17th March 1947: fifteen killed in 98mph gales

17 Mon. During the early hours until daylight, the wind blew with very great violence; as I lay in bed the house shuddered and trembled with the shock. Gusts up to 77 m.p.h. were recorded in London, while gusts up to 98 m.p.h. were registered in other parts of England. As a result of the gale 15 people were killed – even houses were blown down. In contrast the day was comparatively mild and calm with some pleasant sunshine. Out only to buy fish locally. Remade the centre and one side path of garden with ashes. Dug over a border in preparation for planting shallots. Chased after the dog from next door which escaped while their front door was open. Had great difficulty in catching it and bringing it back from half-way down Edna Road: wish I had let it go: it is a beastly little thing and the cause of much nuisance. Repaired Donald’s little four-wheeled truck. The last of the “iceberg” beneath the dining room window disappeared to-day, so the snow has gone at last!

29 July 2016

15th-16th March 1947: gales... and an awful noise!

15 Sat. Severe white frost, 6 degs below but slightly thawing by midday, freezing again by afternoon when it began to snow heavily until an inch had fallen. Late at night it began to thaw again and the snow turned to rain: a bitter E wind. Summer time began to-day and clocks and watches were put on one hour. Gwennie and Laurie called each with a kazoo saxophone – oh, what an awful noise. To Merton to buy fish, lights, cod liver oil and malt and a paper. Played dominoes with Ciss.

16 Sun. Moderately mild, some sun early, dull, rain and a full gale later. Short walk in afternoon. John Child called as usual. Got Colombo and other long distance stations on the short waves.

28 July 2016

13th-14th March 1947: snow and 'cutting' northerly

13 Thur. Rather mild, 51 degs, dull, rain most of the day. There is still some snow left and the “iceberg” outside the dining room window is still 16 ins high. To butchers, fish shop and oil shop in morning. Gwennie and Laurie called in afternoon and had a lesson on whist.


14 Fri. Very cold, only a few degrees above freezing, very dull, snowing most of the day, cutting N wind. Got all the usual Fri. provisions: bought 7 lbs of Rito* fertiliser. Did a lot of house cleaning and altogether did a day’s hard work. Gwennie showed me a crayon picture she did at school.

*Claimed to be the sweepings from the yard of the Molassine Company, Greenwich - see under heading 'Molasses incident photo' on this London archaeological website - and our blog reader Fern has found this photo - link here - of an infamous incident when a storage tank of treacly molasses - the thick, dark brown juice obtained from raw sugar during the refining process - leaked from a vast storage tank.

27 July 2016

11th-12th March 1947: Fred has his school examination papers

11 Tues. Very cold, very dull, very bitter NW wind – an awful day. Cycled to Morden and stood in the catsmeat queue for ¾ of an hour and got some very good meat, also bought saccharin and watercress there. Laurie called to have a lesson in whist; I am teaching him and Gwennie. To station to get a paper.


12 Wed. Morning frost; only a degree or two above freezing all day; very dull, rain commencing midday. Got the groceries locally and took a note to Lily in Botsford. Showed Gwennie my school examination papers and drawings, also school groups: she was very interested. Donald has German measles.

26 July 2016

10th March 1947: no cats' meat available

10 Mon. Rather cold but thawing quite rapidly. The garden was white to begin the day but the ground was showing through in many places by the end of the day. Very dismal, misty rain commencing midday. Cycled to Morden in morning but cats meat shop shut.: bought a pocket book at Woolworths. Cycled to Merton in afternoon but no cats meat there so went to Wimbledon and bought fish. Bought bush tomato seeds at Woolworth’s.

25 July 2016

8th-9th March 1947: Colombo calling

8 Sat. Frost less severe, rising to 6 degs above freezing during the day: some sunshine in afternoon: 4 degs above freezing at night. To Merton to buy fish, haricot beans, split peas etc. Walked there through several inches of slush: in places the pavements are under several inches of slushy water: I have never seen such bad conditions.


9 Sun. Rather cold; actually up to 6 degrees above freezing was recorded: fine sunny day but slight rain at night. The three children called in morning and several others later on their way to Sunday School. John Child called in evening to hear how the short waves were coming in; they should be affected by sunspot activity but I received Radio S.E.A.C. Colombo very loudly.

24 July 2016

7th March 1947: rose pink net for 'radio-gram'

7 Fri. Eight degrees of frost to begin the day. Fine sunny day with freezing and thawing at the same time. Marvellous fringes of long icicles depend from the roofs, the icicles drip and lengthen and glisten in the sunshine with prismatic colours. Conditions underfoot are atrocious. Freezing very hard at night, there being a moon and the air very still and quiet. Got the meat and other things in morning. Took Gwennie and Donald with me to do local shopping in afternoon, bought Gwennie a card of toy kitchen utensils and Donald a blowpipe and ball game. Dyed some curtain net rose pink and fitted it behind the loudspeaker in fret of the radio-gram – looks nice.

23 July 2016

5th-6th March 1947: train lost in snow, cars slip & bump over great mounds

5 Wed. Just a little above freezing point during the day but freezing morning and night. Very dismal with sheets of sleet and frozen snow all day. The fierce E wind drove the snow against the windows with a rattling sound, and it sprayed in round the edges of ill-fitting doors and windows. Cleared the thick snow from footways at back and front of the house. Got the groceries and some fish locally. Took Doris’ plate back & saw Gwennie in bed: there does not seem much the matter with her.

Mr Jones the milkman could not push his truck over the heavily covered roads 


6 Thur. Round about freezing point all day. A little brighter after a night of blizzard. Between 5 and 12 inches of frozen, crunchy snow everywhere. Roads and footways are extremely dangerous. In the midlands and north, trains are snowed under; one train from Manchester to Marylebone was lost temporarily. Mr Jones the milkman could not push his truck over the heavily covered roads and had to deliver milk by hand. In afternoon to buy a cake and a few other things locally. Had to pick up Mrs. Clarke who had fallen at Sydney Road, carried her heavy bag of groceries home for her. A few cyclists were riding but were slithering about dangerously, too risky to be attempted, I think; might have been a spill at a time a car was near; even cars were slipping and bumping over great mounds of frozen snow. Dear Gwennie called and had another lesson in whist.

22 July 2016

3rd-4th March 1947: cruel east wind & blizzard

The snow on the live rail is making the trains flash incessantly  with vivid green light,
which lights up the snow-covered landscape

3 Mon. Very severe white morning frost, very cold day with some weak sunshine and a bitter E wind. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish and beef cubes. Gwennie brought meat for the cats.


4 Tues. Hard black frost, dismal day, cruel E wind. A blizzard commenced midday and continued till time of writing this at 10.20 pm: it looks like going on too. At least four inches of snow fell with three times that depth in the drifts; I should imagine there is two feet of snow outside the dining room window. The snow on the live rail is making the trains flash incessantly with vivid green light, which lights up the snow-covered landscape in a most impressive way: the sky seems ablaze with the man-made lightning. Struggled through the blizzard to Merton to buy cat meat and had to stand in a long queue. Went to Doris to get our usual loaf she takes for us and found Gwennie in bed with a temperature and apparent tonsillitis.

21 July 2016

1st-2nd March 1947: snowdrifts

1 March. Sat. Severe morning frost, just above freezing during day but thawing in the bright sunshine in afternoon. There is still much snow about where it is in shadow: there is still a drift 14 ins deep outside the dining room window. Ciss had the morning off from work. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish: also bought some circuit connecting wire at little wireless shop at the Rush. Gwennie called; played dominoes; she won 2 games out of 2. I then played whist giving her her first lesson.


2 Sun. Severe white frost, cold, fine sunny day. Although it was thawing in the sunshine there is still a lot of snow in the shadows and it will take a long time to disappear. John Child called in evening gave him a variable & a fixed condenser.

Notes: I find it interesting that Fred mentions that his sister, 'Ciss', had the morning off  work - yet this is a Saturday - and her's was an office job with a major building company, Holloway Brothers - Tony.

for old photos and derivation of the name 

20 July 2016

28th Feb 1947: neighbour's chimney on fire

28 Fri. Very cold but not quite freezing, very dull, windy; snowing most of the day. Got the meat, a nice piece of beef, also some cakes and flour and other things locally. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish. Cleaned the parlour windows inside and out, polished dining room floor etc. Donald & Laurie called and played pin-board. Winsley’s the house next door but one had their chimney on fire very fiercely. The pot became red hot & burst, flames and smoke came from roof & chimney stack so they sent for the fire engine. It remained some time but it was got under control without much difficulty.

19 July 2016

26th-27th Feb 1947: spread the news! Paraffin at Houghton's! Liver at butchers!

26 Wed. Fine, bright, sunny day. Slightly thawing in the shade, but more rapidly in the sun: the warmth of which could just be felt. Very cold again at night. Got the groceries at Eyles as usual; bought some razor blades there. Bought fish locally. Donald brought some pieces for the cats. John Child called: gave him a locking-nut for his variable condenser.


27 Thur. Very cold but slightly thawing, very dull: still a lot of snow about. Cousin Doris called to tell me paraffin was being served at Houghtons so went and got a gallon. Met Alf’s Lily who wanted to know where I got it, so she went and got some also. To butchers and to my surprise got some liver. Took battery, thence to station to buy paper. Dear Gwennie brought pieces for cats: I love her; she is growing up very charming.

18 July 2016

24th-25th Feb 1947: pulled sledge for children

24 Mon. 16 degs of frost in morning. 11 at night. Some bright sunshine in afternoon when it thawed for a short while. The three children called morning and afternoon as they have a mid-term holiday. Played beat your neighbour out of doors, dominoes and draughts with them. Gave them rides in turn on their sledge. The road is very slippery and towing the sledge was rather precarious as it was difficult to keep a foothold.


25 Tues. 14 degs of frost in morning slightly thawing in the hazy sunshine in afternoon; freezing again later. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish and other things. Gwennie called.

17 July 2016

22nd-23rd Feb 1947: life goes on... in severe frost

22 Sat. Severe frost all day, very dull, snowing all day: a little less wind: there must have been a blizzard in the night. Walked to Merton in the snow to buy cats meat and other things; met John Child and Fred Spooner. Played Sebastopol at night with Ciss.


23 Sun. Very severe frost save for a few short periods of sunshine in afternoon when it thawed slightly. There were 10 degs of frost at night. Mrs Akroyd came to supper. Gave John Child an old wireless cabinet to fit his crystal set into.

16 July 2016

21st Feb 1947: nearly 200 queue for paraffin... in snow

21 Fri. Severe frost all day; dismal. Snowing all day – a blizzard morning and night. The wind sweeps bare in places and drifts up in others. Queued up for paraffin at Smaldons in morning – about 70 in front of me and 120 behind. Cousin Doris got some. Also to butchers and sweet shop, oh, and fish shop. It was so slippery in Bushey Rd that although I exercised extreme care I could not keep on my feet: every step I took resulted in a slip, until finally I sat down! Alan Spooner called in morning with some fine records which I played.

15 July 2016

20th Feb 1947: adventures with coal, a cat and a cellar


"Made some coal balls out of coal dust, cement and water"

20 Thur. Slightly thawing midday but otherwise freezing; very dismal yellow light, and snowing most of the day. Made some coal balls out of coal dust, cement and water. Found a quantity of dust under the cellar floor, the accumulation of years which has fallen through holes in the floor. The coalman called in afternoon to my surprise and relief and delivered 5 cwt at 4/1 d per cwt. Tibby unknown to me got through a hole in the cellar floor. I covered the holes with a metal plate and put 2 cwt of new coal on the top. After a time I missed Tibby and thought I may have buried him under the floor so I removed the coal, lifted the metal plate and attracted him by shining my torch down the hole. He came up unperturbed; so I moved 2 cwt of coal twice. Out shopping locally: met Gwennie & Donald hunting in vain for paraffin, like myself. Played draughts with Donald.

"I missed Tibby and thought I may have buried him under the floor"

14 July 2016

19th Feb 1947: NO cats' meat, NO coal,

19 Wed. Frost not quite so severe, less dull; wind a little less cutting. Got the groceries locally. Thence to Morden but no cats meat there, so I went to Mitcham but none there, so I bought fish in Morden on my way back. Gwennie & Donald called in afternoon: taught Gwennie how to play three’s and five’s in dominoes. The fuel situation is still critical and there is no sign of supplies of coal in this district yet. Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie were without coal for seven weeks but they have some now.

13 July 2016

17th-18th Feb 1947: sawing timber for fuel

17 Mon. Severe frost; temperature never higher than 27 degs. Fah. Very dull; biting NE wind. Dear Connie Bradley’s birthday: she is 47: lovely darling. Bought fish, marmite, metal polish, torch bulb and saccharin in the morning. To station in afternoon to buy a paper. Laurie called to play draughts. Sawed up a baulk of timber for fuel. What little coal we have left has to be used sparingly. We shall soon be without.


18 Tues. Severe frost all day, dull, wind even worse than yesterday. Busy most of the day sawing a heavy baulk of timber to make logs for fuel. It was very hard to keep a fire to-day. Received 15 ft of chestnut fencing: expect it will be some time before I am able to put it up. Out only to local fish shop and to get the loaf from Doris. Ciss went to see Uncle Tom and Aunt Nellie.

12 July 2016

15th-16th Feb 1947: severe frost, 'many degrees below'

15 Sat. Severe frost all day, dull, cutting E wind. To Smaldon’s to buy a 15 ft roll of chestnut fencing price 22/6. I shall now be able to finish the fence which for so long had been a makeshift so that the dog next door can get through and tear up the garden and chase the cats out of their own garden. Shall have to wait till the thaw comes before I can do the work. Bought a few other things locally. Found Harold and Sylvia with the car with the engine stopped. It goes a little way and conks out. He got it going while I was watching but don’t know how far he got. In afternoon to buy fish at Merton also a dish cloth. Went with Gwennie to the grocers. Laurie came to play draughts: he won 2 to 1.


16 Sun. Severe frost; many degrees below at night, very dismal; the E wind is even worse. Coal is very low & we have but a small fire. The children called. John Child called for his usual wireless talk: gave him some crystals. Ciss went to Cousin Maud birthday party.

11 July 2016

13th-14th Feb 1947: fuel shortages and power cuts, 'like war-time'

13 Thur. Just the same freezing weather only little wind. Toured the district to get paraffin and failed. Cycled to Merton in afternoon to buy fish and cats meat. Went to see Aunt Liza: she is making fair progress. Our coal supply is getting very low & cannot last many more days. The fuel shortage is critical and electric current is cut right off morning & afternoon. We have gas but the pressure is low. All street lighting is now discontinued and black-out conditions are like war-time.


14 Fri. Not freezing quite so hard but very dull although almost dead calm. To the butchers etc. locally. Queued up for logs at Fruin’s yard: had to wait while they repaired the motor that drives the circular saw that cuts the logs. There is no sign of coal yet. We have enough for about 2 to three days. Mrs Conley came to do some house-cleaning to-day: she has not been for some months as she has been ill. Went to see Aunt Liza again; she is making progress.

10 July 2016

11th-12th Feb 1947: five-month waiting list for brolley repair

11 Tues. Severe frost all day, dismal yellow misty light, bitter NE wind. Walked to Wimbledon and back in morning, bought fish, maplemeat, took an umbrella for repair at Trott’s, they put me on the waiting list and said they would write me in about 5 months time when I could bring it, also bought a manual of Pitmans Shorthand for Ciss. Doris told me Aunt Liza was ill with haemorrhage after a bad fit of coughing; the doctor said it was a burst blood vessel. Laurie called; we played two games of draughts; he is a power to reckon with although he is only six.


12 Wed. Exactly the same as yesterday. Got the groceries locally also some cats fish. Went to see Aunt Liza: she is a little better although very weak – the doctor is coming to-day. Laurie came again to-day very keen to play draughts: I let him win three games to my two.

9 July 2016

9th-10th Feb 1947: snowballs

9 Sun. Were greeted this morning with five inches of snow and much deeper where it had drifted. A slow thaw during the day brought down an avalanche of snow from the roofs. I narrowly escaped our roof fall when I went outside to get some coal. Cleared in front of the house; quite a heavy job there being such a weight of snow to shift. Played snowball with many children. Got a direct hit on Eric Morris ear which was filled with snow. I threw him & Doreen some sweets in a paper to make up for it.


10 Mon. A slow thaw to-day with a maximum temperature of 5 degs above freezing: colder at night. Very dull & misty. The roads and footpaths are deep in slush. Bought fish, gloss paint, floor polish, salt, a torch battery etc. locally. Wrote and posted a letter to Uncle Tom. Cleared the rain water pipe in front of house with a long cane, found it was stopped up with a small glass jar. Cleaned the sink into which it flows and the water is now running away properly. The wall just there was saturated right through to the front room.

8 July 2016

7th-8th Feb 1947: severe frost, gales & heavy snow

7 Fri. Severe frost all day long: a little brighter than yesterday. The footpaths and roads are very slippery. I found walking difficult and only saved myself from falling many times by using great caution. Got the meat and other things locally. In afternoon to Merton to buy fish, cats meat, peas (dried) and haricot beans. Heard with great regret of the death of Mr. Essam the shoemaker. He died of a heart attack after influenza. He was 55. I shall miss his cheery optimism and friendliness.


8 Sat. Severe frost all day; dull; cruel wind of gale force: snowing heavily at night. Did not go out. Refitted door on radio-gram: it was knocked off in the bombing. Stained and re-polished the front and top of gram cabinet: it was scratched and pitted with flying glass: it looks quite well again. Gwennie & Laurie called with a sledge their father made for them this morning. Cousin Maud called in evening.

7 July 2016

5th-6th Feb 1947: more snow... start building a radio

Wed 5. Freezing all day, snowing lightly most of the day and the landscape is again white. Dismal, bitter N wind. Got the groceries as usual. Also bought an aluminium soap dish for Ciss and a long cane to clear the rain pipe with. Oh, bought two books of transfers for Anthony. A visit from Mr. Honnor who lived at 88 in this road until his house was destroyed by the doodle-bug. I have been minding his saw so I gave it to him to-day.


Thur 6. Severe frost all day; snowing most of the day: about three inches having fallen. Dismal; sky heavy with snow. To butchers and other shops locally, morning & afternoon, Made a start on the new short-wave set. It will have a screen-grid H.F. stage, detector and two L.F. valves. It will take a long while to build in the easy stages I shall have to make.

6 July 2016

3rd-4th Feb 1947: 17s/11p+5 coupons - trousers from Wimbledon

3 Mon. Very cold, but thawing and much of the snow is gone. Very dull, snow, sleet and rainy. Yesterday I saw a thrush in the garden; to-day I saw a pretty goldfinch: I have never seen a goldfinch except in captivity. A few purchases locally and in evening on my bike to pay the club – came home with Harold.


4 Tues. Very cold, still a little snow left. Dismal, misty, colder at night. To Wimbledon to buy cats meat and a pair of grey flannel trousers. The latter cost 17/11 and 5 coupons. The three children called: played noughts and crosses with Laurie and of course he won! Gave Donald a cycle lamp battery and a bulb: he likes to make circuit with a piece of wire and see the lamp light up.

5 July 2016

1st-2nd Feb 1947: snow hanging around...

1 Feb. Sat. Freezing morning & night, dull: no snow to-day. To Merton on my bike to buy fish also to station to buy a paper. The main road is almost clear of snow on account of the traffic but side roads are deep in snow. Gwennie called. We played noughts and crosses and Sebastopol: she won both games. I did enjoy her visit: she is a treasure.


2 Sun. Freezing morning & night with a more pronounced thaw mid-day: very dull, a little snow & sleet in morning/ John Child called: gave him the short-wave coil.

4 July 2016

30th-31st Jan 1947: gas so weak 25 mins to boil kettle

30 Thur. Frost not quite so severe, 12 degrees below and 8 below midday. Dull: the wind made it feel colder than yesterday. Gas pressure has been reduced by the great coal shortage and the flicker we are allowed takes nearly 25 minutes to boil a kettle. Bought several things locally, including a hot-water bottle, paraffin and a chocolate cake. Met Emily Garrod. She told me they were frozen out and was buying some flex so that Len could fix up an electric fire in the roof to thaw the tank and pipes.


31 Fri. Heavy fall of snow to begin the day, slight thaw midday, freezing again later with more heavy snow; very dull and a sky looking full of snow. Got the week-end shopping – all locally but I went to Merton in the afternoon on an errand. Managed to thaw the lavatory cistern at last. Made a better short wave coil for John Child.

3 July 2016

29th Jan 1947: water frozen inside house

29 Wed. Very severe frost, 17 degrees of frost in early morning. 9 degrees below during the day. The sunshine seemed to make no difference. At a place in Kent 31 degrees of frost was registered. Water was frozen inside the house. Got the groceries in morning. To station in afternoon to buy a paper. Laurie was so cold coming home from school he had to come in for a warm. He has cut an ugly gap in his hair which will disfigure him for some time to come.

2 July 2016

28th Jan 1947: frost, snow and hot ginger wine

28 Tues. Very severe frost, all day, six degrees of frost midday, twelve at night near the house. Snowing all day but a little less wind. Mended the ball-cock in lavatory cistern. Walked to Merton in half a blizzard, stood in a long queue and succeeded in buying some cats meat. Bought saccharin; sausages locally. Went to 34 to get the loaf that Doris gets for us on Tuesdays. The three children were all very good and delighted to see me. Mrs. Collis was passing so I called her in and gave her a cup of hot ginger wine for which she was grateful. She had walked from the further end of Grand Drive, not being able to get a bus and had had enough of the severe weather.

1 July 2016

27th Jan 1947: pushchair for coalite; coal frozen

27 Mon. Severe frost unbroken. More snow in morning, a little sun in afternoon: colder still at night. Walked to Merton in afternoon to buy fish. Bought a few things locally including ½ cwt of coalite. Borrowed Cousin Doris’ push-chair to bring it home. Life is hard just now with so many things lacking or hard to get and the weather is so severe. We are almost out of coal except a little in a bomb damaged bath in the garden and that is frozen solid as it is in the open and gets rain and snow on it: however, the coalite will ease the situation for a few days.