Frost of 1838

Extract from: The Local Historian's Table Book: Of Remarkable Occurrences, Historical Facts, Traditions ... Connected with the Counties of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland and Durham, Volume 5. M.A. Richardson, 1846. pp1-2.

FROST of extreme intensity throughout the northern counties at commencement of the year 1838, and succeeded on the 6th of January by of snow, the wind blowing keen from north-east, the storm prevailing with severity till the end of the month, slight intermissions were experienced. The roads in the district were not entirely obstructed, but considerable delay was experienced in the arrival of the coaches - the long stage coaches especially. On Saturday, the 21st at Newcastle, the frost was more intense than ever remembered there; at two o’clock in the afternoon the thermometer was at 18o, at eight o’clock, at 12 o, and from ten to twelve o’clock at night, as low as 9 o, 30, or 22 degrees below the freezing point; whilst in more exposed places in the neighbourhood, it was still lower being down to 5o at Prudhoe; and at Ryton even below 3o, 29 degrees below freezing! The drift of snow both on Saturday night and Sunday was considerable, and some of the coaches did not start as usual on Monday. All passage on the river Tyne was stopped, it being frozen for upwards of five miles below Newcastle, and several skating parties were seen exercising on the ice. On Monday and Tuesday the 22nd and 23rd, a partial thaw was experienced and great damage being apprehended to the shipping from the breaking up of the ice, precautionary measures were resorted to, but on the morning of the 24th the frost was again intense, in which state it remained till Monday the 29th, when a gradual but continued thaw commenced and it was fortunate that the ice went away so gently as it did, as the harbour was much crowded with loaded ships, many of which received partial injury, owing to the haste with which it was attempted to get them out to sea, to avoid the consequences apprehended from the breaking up of the ice. In this attempt seven vessels got upon the in sand but none of them received any damage except the loss or breaking of bowsprits and other external and trifling injury. In no year since the celebrated frost of 1814 had one occurred like the present in proof of this it may be mentioned that loaded carts crossed the Tyne, the Coquet, the Tweed, and other rivers in the north, upon the ice at various points.

The Local Historian's Table Book: Of Remarkable Occurrences, Historical Facts, Traditions ... Connected with the Counties of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland and Durham, Volume 5. M.A. Richardson, 1846
- Book from 1846 digitised as a free Google eBook.

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Simon Cotterill
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