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 Post subject: The Snow Storm
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:14 am 
Spider Lady
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:23 pm
Posts: 8093
Location: Staffordshire
Burnley Express

Saturday 17 February 1900

The Snow Storm

Heavy Damage In The Locality.
Men Injured By A Fall Of A Roof.

Heavy as the downfall of snow on Saturday and Sunday was, it was not by any means the most severe weather we were to experience. It is safe to say that a more miserable day than Thursday was impossible. There had been a gradual thaw since Tuesday, but on Thursday the pleasant nature of it was entirely changed. The wind blew with the velocity of a gale, and as the day was wet and miserable, the cold was doubly apparent. During the morning a heavy fall of sleet commenced, which had been preceded by some rain, and this continued throughout the whole of the day, with nearly the same severe intensity. As a consequence the streets became sloppy, and pedestrians walked in inches of water. In certain places, where the snow-broth had collected, it was very deep. Eight inches of snow fell at the Ridge, above Burnley, on Thursday, which was added to the depth already registered on Sunday. In the town this was converted into water, in keeping out which the best boots were almost useless. Those who were compelled to walk were drenched very quickly, and altogether it was the most miserable day that has been remembered by any of the present generation.
Vehicular traffic was much impeded, whilst trains and trams were not only delayed but stopped. Telephone wires were broken in great numbers, and the "avalanches" from the roofs were very dangerous. In some cases the weight of the snow pressed the troughing from the edge of the roof, and tore out slates when it slid down, whilst in dropping many window shades were smashed by the weight. A meteorological authority has written: "It is doubtful if there has even been such a series of weather conditions aggregated in the same space of time at any period in the life of the present generation in this part of the country. There have been longer spells of intense cold than we have experienced lately; but not such large quantities of snow in so limited a time. The nearest parallel instance during the last 50 years of any one day's conditions is to be found in the 1st of March, 1866; but even then there had been no snowfall immediately preceding that day, and only 50 tons per acre fell on that day. In the second week of Janaury, 1841, very similar features to those of the present week were witnessed, but though there was more intense cold it is very doubtful if there was an equal quantity of snow in the same period of time."


The streets presented a sorry sight on Thursday, and the persons traversing them were one and all miserable. In the morning many schoolmasters decided to close the schools in the afternoon, as the number of scholars was very small. In other cases the masters sent the children home in the afternoon, as it was absolutely cruel to keep them at lessons in the wet and cold state they were in. Trains were very late, and some of the trams were completely blocked, the wet snow having clogged the motions of the engines. In one case a tram-car was standing two hours just below Tim Bobbin on the Padiham side, being unable to proceed further up the hill without assistance. Extra engines were requisitioned from the tram depot. Roof-slips have been abundant, the crash made by some of these slips being startling. They have also done a great deal of damage in tearing of the troughs, slates, etc. The men of the health depot engaged in clearing the streets stopped work on account of the intensely severe conditions, but resuming at night they did good work in clearing the main thoroughfares. Telephones have been out of order, that at the "Express" Office being useless all day yesterday.
Probably the most serious accident resulting from the snow-storm took place on Thursday at the Mitre Timber Works, Burnley. Shortley after four o'clock the workmen in the moulding department were alarmed by the lattice roof, which is stated to have been perfectly sound, falling in through the weight of the snow. At the time about twenty workmen were in the building, two of these being buried in the falling mass. One managed to extricate himself, whilst the other had to be assisted out, escaping with a few scratches. Work was suspended until Monday morning.

Colne and District.

Owing to the storm the traffic in Colne and district has been severely interferred with. The trains have been delayed very much, in consequence of signal posts being blown down, whilst wires to connect the line and work the signals have also been broken. As an instance, it may be stated, that the train timed to leave Colne at 4-25 p.m., did not depart until about 7-20 p.m. When the train was proceeding to Nelson it was stopped about five or six times, owing to the signals being out of order. Trains from Colne to Nelson have to be run on a single line. The Yorkshire trains have also been delayed.


A long piece of iron troughing fell from Webster Buildings, dragged down by the weight of snow, and several slates were wrenched off the roof. The police had to warn foot passengers away from that side of the street. A few seconds before this heavy fall a woman passed directly under it. Yesterday a gang of men washed the main street by means of hose pipes.

What Mr. Tattersall Wilkinson Says.
Roggerham, Thursday night.

We have had a severe spell of truly Arctic weather to-day. The storm of last Saturday was a calm compared to this, althoughwe had a fall of snow from 15 to 18 inches deep, while on the upper moorlands it was from three to four feet. The road through the gully at Widdup Head, inclining eastward for some 30 or 40 yards, the snow drifts are from seven to eight feet in depth. Communication over the Yorkshire border has been suspended for over a week.
Yesterday the lazy state of the atmosphere denoted the premonitory symptoms of a coming storm, which broke out this morning in fitful gusts of a chilling bitter south-east wind, sweeping across the moors, laden with dense masses of feathery snow at times obscuring the atmosphere. From Roggerham, away south, the road runs at right angles with the course of the storm. Consequently the drifts are level with the wall tops, and in some instances several feet above. All communication is cut off, and will continue so until the snow is cleared, for it is impossible for a vehicle to pass. There is every prospect of a wild tempestuous night. A strong gale is sweeping down Swinden Valley, enveloping the landscape in a vast beautiful winding sheet, but of weird appearance. I often think of the hardy moorbirds in storms like this, and can deeply appreciate the inimtable tenderness contained in the following lines by the immortal Burns, under similar conditions:-
Listening, the doors and winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the owrie cattle
Or silly sheep, who bide this brattle
O' winter war.
And through the drift, deep-lairing sprattle,
Beneath a caur,
The happing bird, wee, helpless thing,
That in the merry months of spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o' thee?
Where wilt thou cower thy chittering wing,
And close the e'e?


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