1979: Even the breadman got stuck!

Snowdrift at Woodingdean, New Year's Day 1979
Photo by David Fisher

Heavy snowfalls in Brighton are rare enough to be memorable and photographed. This was the scene in the car park next to the Sunblest bakery on Falmer Road to the north of Woodingdean on New Year’s Day 1979. Just north of this point the road across the downs to Falmer was completely blocked.

I recall watching the unusual and evocative sight of snow falling on the beach and the sea. There were lines of mounded snow along the roadside on Marine Parade

Comments about this page

  • I remember this snow – me and my brother were playing outside – wish we had more that.

    By Bridget (31/12/2008)
  • I also remember the day very well. New Year 1978/79. I was out and about with a few mates for the weekend ‘pub crawl’ The snow had been forecast, but then as now, its rare to get too much snow right on the coast, so we didn’t really take too much notice. Wrong – I remember standing in ‘Shades’ bar at the bottom of North Street and at about 8pm the first few people came in brushing the snow off. It’ll be ok. No problem. A pint later, and we decided to move on to the next pub, the ‘Cricketers’ by which time it was really becoming heavy and started to settle. I think we stayed in town until about 9pm, by which time the wind had got up as well. Time to call it a night. Walking through the Steyne area and up towards Edward Street, the snow was settling and there was no-one about, a really strange sight. Everyone else had more sense, but then I was only 19 and stupid so what did I know. I have a ‘snapshot’ image of that night in my mind of standing outside my workplace, Amex House, and looking up and down Edward Street. No one about, snow blowing and laying everywhere. My mate sported a very trendy late 1970s moustache at the time, and this was starting to freeze up so he looked like Scott of the antarctic. Getting home to East Brighton was out of the question, so I had to sleep on the floor in his house towards the top of Freshfield Road. The next morning, I set off for home, and got to the top of the race hill near the transmitter and found a couple of abandoned cars by the side of the road. Obviously didn’t fancy driving down the hill. From memory, that was a particularly cold winter which seemd to go on and on, even Election day in May 1979 was cold with snow.

    By Charlie Lyons (21/11/2009)
  • Like Charlie I was out “pub-crawling” on New Year’s Eve 1978. I recall walking down West Street as the snow started, going into the Cellar Bar at the Queen Anne where I spent the evening chatting to a couple of girls from Holland who were in Brighton on holiday, and emerging to find thick snow. I walked the girls back to their lodgings somewhere just off Elm Grove as they were a bit anxious about finding their way home in the snow, then trudged my way home to Coldean, by which time I had well and truly sobered up!

    By John Wilkin (10/01/2011)
  • I remember the snow on New Year’s Eve 1978 well. My fiancee (now my wife) and I were driving to her parents’ home in Moulscoomb. After doing a 360 degree turn in Hillside I managed to get the car into The Bevendean Pub’s car park and left it there and we walked the rest of the way. It was that cold the lock on the fuel filler cap froze!

    By Nick Phillips (09/12/2012)
  • The story about the bread man is that he had an impossible distance to go through atrocious conditions, but being unable to progress beyond the bottom of Wilson Avenue, he opened the doors and began selling his load. Before he knew what was happening, a long queue formed with people prepared to pay far more than the asking price just for a loaf of bread. I believe he soon returned to the bakery with an empty truck, and gave his employers more money than they would have otherwise received.

    By Roy Grant (26/02/2013)

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