Glossop Heritage Trust

The blizzard of 1953.

Entry from West End School log book
11 February: The snowfalls these few days have seriously affected attendance, which this morning is as low as 70%. For the first time, Hayfield pupils were unable to attend, as both roads to Glossop from Hayfield were snow blocked.

Glossop Chronicle 13 February.

Montage of snow photos.
Top Left - Conductors tried to keep destination indicators clear, but it was a monotonous job.
Right - A bench in the park makes a curious picture.
Below: Left - The road to Glossop Cemetery was blocked.
Right - Farmer J. Pogson battles his way through Hadfield delivering milk by tractor.


North Road.
Youngsters were the only section of the community who still had an interest in the snow at the week-end.
This photograph was taken at the top of North Road, Glossop (published 20 February).


Blizzard halted traffic in Glossop
The snow made beautiful tapestries in Glossop and Longdendale this week - but it also brought bad conditions on the roads. A steady fall on Sunday delayed travellers and caused chaos on trunk roads.
Police To The Rescue
Dr. Jean McLarty, aged 42, was driving home to Nether Edge, Sheffield, from Oldham on Sunday night but had to Abandon her car on the Snake Pass about three miles from Glossop. She walked back to Glossop and went home by train. Three Glossop policemen managed to dig the vehicle out later.
There were minor bumps on many roads. Two vehicles collided at the Plough, near Dinting Arches. Another collision occurred at the function of Station Road and Railway Street, Hadfield but no-one was hurt.
Late on Sunday night the thaw had set in but on Monday morning roads became treacherous with ice. County council workmen were out with gritting wagons. Freezing conditions in the evening kept many people indoors and just as everyone thought that the snow was clearing nicely another heavy fall came. Clock Sounded Hoarse
People were late for work on Tuesday morning. Buses were delayed and chains were being used by most vehicles. The snow had stopped Glossop Town Hall clock but it was noon put into working order. Even then, people said it sounded a little hoarse as it chimed the hours.
Road conditions were chaotic. On the Snake there was a frozen surface. Snow was about three to four inches deep and there were drifts up to a foot. At Woodhead, on the Manchester-Sheffield road, snow was lying five inches thick and drifts were one foot deep. On the Glossop to Woodhead and Glossop to Buxton roads drifts varied between a foot and eighteen inches.
Extra work on the farm
Farmers In the area had to channel their way through drifts before they could start work. In some parts of the district snow had drifted half way up the doors of houses.
Hayfield children attending West End School, Glossop, got stuck on their way into the town. They left early in the afternoon in their special coach in an effort to beat the weather.
Plumbers' nightmare
Burst water pipes made it a plumbers' nightmare and a few telephone lines were out of order at Glossop, To add to the trouble there was a lunch-time power cut. Those without gas were unable to cook mid day meals. Electric current was restored after two hours.
The weather hit the attendance at Glossop and Hadfield Trades Council. Only eight delegates and three officials turned up. Glossop's Empire Cinema had few patrons.
The weight of snow on overhead electricity cables caused lights in hundreds of homes to blink and flicker continually on Tuesday night.
As another thaw set in people trod the pavements warily. Snow hung threateningly from the eaves and crashed to the ground at frequent intervals.
Funeral Postponed.
A funeral at Glossop Cemetery had to be postponed because the road was blocked. Nearly 40 vehicles were abandoned at Woodhead and another score were trapped on the Snake Pass. A snow-plough trying to dear the Chunal - Buxton route got stuck at Chunal.
Thirty year old Ernest Powe, of Stanley Road, Salford, was stranded on the Snake road with his vehicle on Tuesday. After six hours he was persuaded to abandon it and was taken to Woods Hospital, Glossop, suffering from exposure.
Bus Stuck.
A Sheffield-Manchester bus got stuck on the West Riding side of Woodhead on Tuesday night. Among the few passengers was a young child. Drivers from other cars stranded at Woodhead sat in the coach for three hours until a way was made for them to be taken to Longdendale, where they were accommodated. They were aided by Mottram policemen.
High winds at Chunal were undoing the work of a snow plough on the Glossop-Buxton road on Wednesday morning. The road to Chapel-en-le-Frith was reported to be blocked and the Glossop-Buxton bus service was suspended. On other routes, buses were diverted. Thanks to the quick work of road men, the main roads through Glossop were cleared by lunchtime. Station Road, Hadfield, was the only black spot.
Children had a wonderful time. They got out their sledges and made runs over the moorland slopes. Snowball fights were in progress to and from school.
Delivery Services Hit
Tradesmen's delivery services were badly hit as vehicles tried to plough their way through nine inches of snow on secondary roads. A Glossop Chronicle reporter visiting Tintwistle on Wednesday morning got stuck six times. With the aid of several helpers armed with spades and buckets of ashes he managed to make his rounds.
In the villages conditions were “not too bad”. Most roads through Mottram, Broadbottom, and Charlesworth were in good shape and at Hollingworth it was the same story. Less traffic was using Mottram Moor than normally. R.A.C. and A.A. patrol men had warned long distance lorry drivers of the dangers and broadcasts by the BBC stated that the worst blizzards for five years had hit the High Peak District. Transport cafes and public houses in the Longdendale Valley were besieged with requests for lodgings on Wednesday night by more long distance lorry drivers. Many of them found accommodation at Mottram. The number of abandoned vehicles at Woodhead increased to 60. There were drifts up to nine feet between Saltersbrook and Board Hill Cutting.
Dead-end Town
The police warned travellers that Glossop was a dead end town. Only two roads were open – those to Marple and Manchester. No attempt had been made to clear drifts on the Snake Pass which in places were more than 10 feet. Snow ploughs were too busy on other roads. As more snow fell it was feared that isolated farmers In the outlying districts of Glossop may be cut off. The North Western Road Car Co announced that they hoped to restore the Glossop-Buxton bus service today (Thursday). This morning, Sergeant T. Evans, of Mottram Police, was making a tour of inspection at Woodhead. Snowploughs were trying to break through the block from both ends. It was thought that there may be a chance of opening the road for single line traffic. Vehicles were trying to get through to Glossop from Hayfield with the aid of chains but road patrols said it was not advisable.

Return to the Local History Main Menu, Return to The Natural Disasters Articles, Return to the Home Page.




Page last updated: 25 September 2017.
Copyright © 2017 Glossop Heritage Trust. All Rights Reserved.