Ice-bound Portsmouth Harbour during the big freeze of 1963
Ice-bound Portsmouth Harbour during the big freeze of 1963

17 photos showing how the 1963 Big Freeze brought Portsmouth to a standstill

The big freeze started in December and carried on through January and February, before ending in early March.

By Deborah Croker
Monday, 8th February 2021, 10:21 am

It began with a cold easterly wind reaching the UK on December 22, as an anticyclone formed over Scandinavia and cold continental winds blew in from Russia.

The winter of 1962–63 was one of the coldest on record in the UK and led to huge snowfall and disruption on the south coast, including in Portsmouth.

Temperatures plummeted and the long bitterly cold spell caused lakes, rivers and even sea water to freeze in some harbours as it all turned to thick ice.

The winter freeze ended at the start of March when a mild south-westerly flow of air eventually reached the British Isles.

Here are some images from our area to illustrate just how bitterly cold it was.

Join our new Portsmouth Retro Facebook group to find more fascinating photos and memories from Portsmouth’s past.

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