8th December 1967

Brighton in the snow in the 1960s
Photo by John Leach

No school that day

I remember the 8th December 1967 very well. I was at Moulsecoomb Junior School at the time in the 4th year, I was 10 years old and we had recently moved to Islingword Street. Luckily for me I didn’t have to go to school that day as the teachers had a day off for Christmas shopping, so I stayed at home on my own. I know, a 10 year old in a house on his own! It wouldn’t happen these days would it? My parents and Nan went to work and my brother and sister went to school. When they all left the sun was shining but very quickly I remember the sky darkening and the snow started, it was very thick and layed immediately.

No central heating

We lived in a four storey house which was a bit spooky with a dark cellar so I stayed on the ground floor all morning. I remember there being a power cut and we did not have much heating in those days, nobody did as central heating was a real luxury. My poor old Nan was the first to come home about 2.30pm. She worked at a Fish & Chip shop which I believe is still there at the junction of Elm Grove and Queens Park Road; unfortunately she had fallen over in Cobden Road and broken her wrist. Soon after my Mother arrived then the rest of the family, it was an awful day and I remember we had a long power cut in the evening.

Snow is for Christmas cards

I also remember the next day I wasn’t too happy that the Albion match against Southend in the F A Cup was postponed. I’ve never really liked snow since that day, well only on Christmas cards. I also remember the winter of  1963 when the snow seemed to last forever. We lived in Colbourne Avenue then, and I remember opening the front door that faced west and the snow was half way up the door frame. We did not have any days off school either; it was only a short walk around the corner to Moulsecoomb Infants School, but even when Mr Bastable the caretaker came round to say the boiler was not working, on went the coats! All the boys wore short trousers at the time as well, with Wellington boots.

Comments about this page

  • I vividly remember the 1962/1963 and 1967 snow falls mentioned. The 1962/1963 one fell just before New Year in 1962 and stayed on the ground until around March. The photo above is of St George’s Terrace, if the photo was taken in 1962/3 I would have been living in the guest house in line with the first car on the right hand side of the road. It was so cold for so long, you wondered if it would ever end; even the insides of our windows were frozen solid. Our oil heaters were on 24/7, it’s a wonder the local hardware store never run out of paraffin, and our coal fire never seemed to be out either. The December 1968 snow fall happened so quickly on that Friday, at 10.00am there was nothing, by 2.00pm there was about 8 inches and everything had come to a standstill. I had to walk home from school about a mile that day, but my dad had to walk from Hollingbury industrial estate to our home in Black Rock. Thankfully the snow didn’t stay on the ground very long and within a few days most of it had gone in the town centre.

    By Michael Brittain (21/12/2012)
  • I remember 8th December 1967 very well. I was a month off the age of 9. My class went to the hall opposite St. Bartholomew’s Primary School in Providence Place to practice on the stage for our school Christmas play. When we went into the hall in the morning there was no sign of snow, but when we came out at lunch time, the snow had laid to several inches. I still have vivid memories of seeing the snow and the surprise we all had! We were sent home from school and I walked with my mum to Norwich Drive in Lower Bevendean where we stayed with her elderly friend who lived on her own. I will never forget that walk in the thick snow!

    By Rosemary Mitchener (nee Faulkner) (22/12/2012)
  • I remember the snow of 8th December 1967. I was at Hove County Grammar School for Girls (now Hove Park Upper) and we were sent home. I was a week short of my 15th birthday and had to walk all the way home to Mile Oak in a foot of snow. By the time I got to Victoria Park in Portslade, I was so cold, I stopped off at the library. As I stood there defrosting, a huge puddle of melting snow appeared around me. I was loathe to leave the library and I shouldn’t have gone there in the first place, because it was much harder to continue onwards along Old Shoreham Road, up Lock’s Hill, and cut through what was then open countryside to our house at the top of Thornhill Rise. I had a kind of snow-blindness and the frostbite was frightful.

    By Renia (24/12/2012)
  • I remember also the year we had an official ‘White Christmas’ in Brighton which was 1970. I went to see the film ‘The Aristocats’ (well I was only 13!) at the Odeon cinema in West Street on Christmas Eve and there was no evidence of any snow at all when we went in but when we came out into West Street at about 10pm it was like a Christmas card. I must admit at the time that even though I’m not keen on snow or the cold I thought due to it being Christmas Eve it was quite nice. My mood dipped on Boxing day though as I had booked to go to see Brighton and Hove Albion play away at Reading! I walked, slid, even rolled on occasion!! down Southover Street as I lived in Islingword Street at the time. I was boarding the coach at St Peters Church and we set off up the London Road stopping on occasion at a phone box so the driver could call to see if the match was still on. It was snowing quite heavily and very cold, the coach wasn’t too bad but cold enough! We kept hearing on the radio that it was still on but as we entered Berkshire (I remember seeing the sign) it was announced that the game was off!! I remember getting back to Brighton late in the afternoon and trudging back up Southover Street. Does anyone else remember being on that same trip?

    By Paul Clarkson (24/12/2012)
  • I well remember the 62/63 bad winter I can remember the snow getting real bad on a Friday morning, I was working at CVA Eaton road at the time and they took the unprecedented step of sending us all home at 2 pm as things were getting so bad, I only had to get to Ladysmith Road off Bear Road and it took me hours just to get to the bottom of Bear Road, but it was impassable despite some people trying to no avail, I ended up leaving the car in Lewis road just down from the Bear Inn and walking the rest of the way home.

    By Dennis Fielder (24/12/2012)
  • To Paul….well, what are the chances of that happening? My sister and I were also on that coach (wasn’t it Dorothy somebody who ran them?) and there was probably only the one coach, not like the fleet of those travelling now. We had to get back to Coldean but I don’t remember how we did it. I was only 15 at the time but kids would travel to away games without adults. Still following the Seagulls now and love the Amex.

    By Ken Valder (26/12/2012)
  • Yes Ken, I think her name was Dorothy and from what I remember we had to go to a little office over at St Georges Place (number 2 I think) to book the tickets. I did go on a few away trips at that time, on Boxing Day the year before 1969 we went to Bournemouth and it was quite the opposite to 1970 as it wasn’t very cold and the match did go ahead, it was a terribly boring 0-0 draw!! The only other time I remember a snowy story involving the Albion was around 69-70 when they played Torquay United at the Goldstone and it started snowing heavily on the Saturday morning and laying very quickly. I used to get the special bus from Elm Grove (cost 6d return!) When we got to the ground there was hardly anyone there and it turned out that at Brighton railway station someone announced the game was off. It went ahead with the usual ‘orange’ ball and ended 2-2.

    By Paul Clarkson (31/12/2012)
  • Hi Paul, I was at both those games too. I used to travel with my Sister and, at Bournemouth, we took a bottle of Guiness and, having eventually opened it, found it yuk! An aquired taste, which I aquired many years later. I also went by football bus to the Torquay game (via Coldean) and a pretty good game too.

    By Ken Valder (31/12/2012)
  • I remember the snow in 1967. I had just started work with the AA in Marine Parade. It started snowing and was getting worse so as I was near the office I popped in to see if it was busy. I ended up staying there for three days helping out with all the emergency calls which were coming in due to the weather. For a young man it was very exciting!!!

    By Steve hunter (04/01/2013)
  • I worked at The University of Sussex as an electronics lab tech in 1967! I recall seeing the snow begin to lay heavily and it soon became obvious that we would have to leave early.

    My mate Roger’s car was snowed in after just two hours and he had to walk home to Haywards Heath. I was living with friends in Coldean and the guy had to walk home from either Seaford or Newhaven, can’t be sure which, along the coast road. He got home around 9:30pm that evening!

    In 1963, I was 19 and I remember I and my kid sister got stuck over the top of Elm Grove walking home to Freshfield  Road up to our waists in snow because it was one long deep drift all along from the top of Elm Grove. We had to lift our knees up to our chests with every step and we were laughing so much that we kept falling down!

    By Keith Herriott (17/01/2017)
  • I remember 62/63. All the pipes froze, and they sent water tankers round the streets. Mum filled our bath.

    By Sue Elleker (19/10/2017)
  • Somehow I remember 8th Dec 1967 vividly. We lived in Wolverstone Drive, top of Davey Drive. My Grandad lived in the same road and had a beautiful greyhound who used to wait for me every morning and sometimes walk all the way to school with me to Downs in Ditchling Road which was a few miles away. On this particular morning I whistled him but he refused to walk with me and stood at the top of the steps. I remember thinking it strange and for some unknown reason I looked up at the sky which had turned a heavy grey colour. I remember at about 9-15 we all rushed to look out of the windows in the classroom on the first floor as huge snowflakes had started to fall. After I can remember we had to practice for the school play in the assembly hall and looking out of the windows and the snow was harder and laying quickly. It was so exciting and very christmassy as my mum would say as the decorations were already up at School. We were sent home at midday and the snow was deep and drifting. I set off for Davey Drive with my mate Nev Hardwick sliding down Hollingdean Terrace. We were only dressed in anoracks, shorts and plimsoles, all on our own and nine years old. I just about made it up Davey Drive on my own, the drifts were 3-4 feet deep in places.  All of a sudden my Grandad’s greyhound came bounding towards me to guide me home. He must have sensed something that morning. I will never forget that day, my Mum thawed me out in front of the fire and I spent the next few days sledging, throwing snowballs and making snowmen.

    By Peter Paolella (17/11/2017)
  • Seeing the snow in the South of England brought memories flooding back of the snow in 1967. I was 9 years old and at Saltdean Primary School. We watched fascinated from the windows as massive snowflakes fell. Within minutes everything was white. We were told that we would not be allowed to leave school until a parent/guardian arrived.  My mum and grandad walked to get me, bringing wellies, trousers etc.  I had gone to school with just knee high socks! It took ages to walk the short distance to Coombe Vale because by then there was a proper blizzard and drifting snow. It was hard to see where we were going. I also remember my dad being one of the last cars to get through to Saltdean (he worked in London) before the road was closed.  A couple of days later we went to the village green to watch a helicopter drop basic supplies because the shops were bare! So exciting for a child – not so much for adults I guess!

    By Debbie Darby (27/02/2018)
  • I recall the freak December 1967 snowfall as I was returning home to Portslade from Hertfordshire where I worked for the CEGB. I was driving a Hillman Imp and the snow increased in depth as I got close to Brighton. There was little traffic on the roads and I remember gunning the engine to get me up the hill past the 7 Dials. Fortunately the tactic worked and I was able to complete my journey without mishap although somewhat late.

    By Ken Broomfield (30/12/2019)

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