Winter of 1894–95 in the United Kingdom

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The winter of 1894-95 was severe for the British Isles with a CET of 1.2C.[1] The severe winter led to mass unemployment and severe disruptions to shipping on the River Thames.

December 1894[edit]

December 1894 was mild for the most part and the first three weeks were dominated by Southwesterlies.It was not until the last week, when the winds veered to the northwest that colder weather arrived with frosts and snow showers to exposed areas.

18 cm of snow was reported in Norfolk at the end of the month. The average monthly temperature was 5.1C

January 1895[edit]

Troughs in the flow gave snow showers to most parts and many places had a snow cover, Oxford had 8 cm by the 6th. High pressure to the west moved across the UK and under the clear skies and with a deep snow cover, very low minima were recorded with -11C in parts of Norfolk and -18C in parts of the Highland. Freezing fog formed and was slow to clear, a maximum of -5C was recorded at Ross-on-Wye in freezing fog.

Milder air tried to push in from the Atlantic with a system and a heavy snowfall resulted across the UK with depths of snow of between 8 to 15 cm being widely reported.

The Atlantic air finally broke through and there was a thaw resulting in flooding in a number of areas. Temperatures were in double figures in the south, Kew recording 11C.

The northwesterlies returned on the 21st with a low over the near continent and its active cold front moving across southeast England bringing thunderstorms, snow and hail. The northerly flow for a few days and conditions were severe over northern Scotland with heavy drifting snow and snow fell elsewhere exposed to the north wind.

The average monthly temperature was 0.2C. January 1895 is the 26th coldest ever recorded

February 1895[edit]

A very cold easterly flowed across the UK and most of Europe and there were severe frosts with minima of -13C at Loughborough and -15C being recorded at Chester. Heavy snow showers came with the easterly with Yorkshire and Lincolnshire getting the brunt of the showers, South Shields was severely affected by 15 hours of continuous snowfall forcing the closure of the shipyard. Small polar lows affected the west with snowfalls, Douglas on the Isle of Man recorded 20 cm of snow. As the high over Scandinavia moved over the UK then came a phenomenally cold spell with exceptionally low minima. Temperatures of -20C or less were regularly recorded, -27.2C was recorded at Braemar on the 11th, the lowest ever UK minima,[2] -24C at Buxton also on the 11th,-22.2C at Rutland. -12.7C was the mean average temperature for Wakefield in Yorkshire between the 5th and the 14th. Canals, rivers, lakes and ponds froze in the severe cold, the Manchester Ship Canal was iced over, there were ice floes in the Thames and the Thames estuary itself was impassable because of ice.

It is estimated that between 50,000 and 60,000 skated on the Serpentino yesterday. The thickness of the ice averaged 6 1/2 inches.... In Finsbury Park the ice in places was no less than 10 in thick.[1]

Many people died of hypothermia and of respiratory conditions.

... coroner for East London, held inquests at Poplar on the bodies of four persons whose death was due to the cold weather. At St. Clement Dane's Vestry-hall, at the Westminster Union, at Chelsea, and at the Kensington Town-hall similar cases were investigated.... Out of eight inquests ... five were stated by the medical witnesses to be due to the severity of the weather.[1]

By the end of February, the weekly death rate from pneumonia and related illnesses was 950 per week higher than the average for the period.[3] There was mass unemployment as industries were closed by the conditions and coal supplies dwindled as transporting coal by canal or rail became impossible. As the high began to slip westwards, milder Atlantic air slowly encroached and temperatures crept above freezing for the first time in a couple of weeks, London had its first frost free night on the 21st for three weeks. Maxima temperature were finally returning to close to normal by the end of the month.

The record minima set for these dates in February 1895 (C)

  • 7th: -21.7
  • 8th: -25.0
  • 9th: -23.9
  • 10th: -25.6
  • 11th: -27.2
  • 12th: -20.6
  • 13th: -21.9
  • 14th: -21.7
  • 16th: -23.9
  • 17th: -23.9
  • 18th: -23.9
  • 19th: -22.2

The average monthly temperature was -1.8C. February 1895 is the second coldest February ever recorded[citation needed]

Coldest spells of the winter (CET means)[edit]

  • Coldest daily CET maximum: -4.5C 6 February
  • Coldest daily CET minimum: -13.5C 8 February
  • Mildest daily CET maximum: 11.2C on 13 December



  1. ^ a b c "The Weather". The Times. February 15, 1985. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  2. ^ TORRO: British extremes: minimum temperatures
  3. ^ "The Frost Of 1895", British Medical Journal. Vol. 1, No. 1790 (Apr. 20, 1895), p. 886. JSTOR 20215895

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