Prepare your winter maintenance

3rd June, 2015

Well as we look out of the window it is hard to believe that we are in fact in the second day of meteorological summer. Up and down the country we are seeing heavy showers, gusty winds and dull and overcast conditions - certainly not what many of us would hope for at this time of year. Unfortunately, if you are expecting long spells of hot weather this summer, you could be in for a disappointment.

As we discussed in our recent blog, much of the talk in recent weeks has been focussed on the possible effects caused by this year's El Niño and the impact it could have on our weather here in the UK. If the latest predictions are anything to go by, it would appear that we can kiss goodbye to any hopes of a long hot summer and instead look ahead to a cold wet summer and freezing cold winter.

“We will have a cooler summer than normal. We are not expecting any long spells of hot weather. The Jet Stream will be a bit further south than normal. That tends to bring wetter weather to Britain. El Niño might give us a cooler weather. You will struggle to have a hotter summer with El Niño and the Jet Stream being where it is.” - Leon Brown, Meteorologist at the Weather Channel

The Great Frost of 1683-84

Of course, even with the effects of El Niño, we would have to experience a significantly cold winter for it to even get close to being the worst winter ever seen in the UK. It is generally recognised that the bleak winter of 1683-84 holds that accolade. That year the Thames froze for two months and resulted in London's legendary Frost Fairs being established. With the Thames covered in several inches of ice, locals took the opportunity to take to the ice and indulge in such activities as:

  • Gambling
  • Ice skating
  • Bear baiting

And an eye-witness account from the time gives an insight into just how severe the frost was - something that is hard to imagine today.

“On the 20th of December, 1683, a very violent frost began, which lasted to the 6th February, in so great extremity, that the pools were frozen 18 inches thick at least, and the Thames was so frozen that a great street from the Temple to Southwark was built with shops, and all manner of things sold. Hackney coaches plied there as in the streets. There were also bull-baiting, and a great many shows and tricks to be seen. This day the frost broke up. In the morning I saw a coach and six horses driven from Whitehall almost to the bridge (London Bridge) yet by three o'clock that day, February the 6th, next to Southwark the ice was gone, so as boats did row to a fro, and the next day all the frost was gone.”

It Always Pays To Be Prepared

Obviously, we are not expecting El Niño to result in scenes such as those described above. It does however always pay to be prepared for any eventuality. As business owners you have a responsibility to your staff, customers and the general public to ensure that all sensible precautions are taken and that your site is as safe as possible. Should we experience a severe winter you want to be confident that your site will be protected from any possible threat of snow and ice.

You can find out more about the services we offer by clicking here. However if you would like to discuss how we can help you in the creation of a bespoke winter maintenance plan, do not hesitate to get in touch!

Thomas Wyke London Frost Fairs

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