On this day in 1881 the Evening News published this editorial, prompted by some residents’ reactions to a great snowstorm which brought five-feet deep snowdrifts, the suspension of all public transport and an appeal for money to help those in distress in Portsmouth:
‘There still exist numbers of ignorant and exasperating fanatics, thick-headed men with leather lungs and the epidermis of a rhinoceros, who set common sense, science and the Register General’s returns equally at defiance, and bellow forth their delight in this ‘good, old-fashioned weather’.
‘It never strikes them that those who suffer from insufficient food or clothing, the aged, the very young, the delicate, the ailing can feel no such pleasant reaction, but succumb to the icy touch of winter as do flowers and vegetation. Cold is death.’
The council spent £1,100 helping to clear the roads, and troops assisted in transporting essential mail.
More than £700 was raised by public subscription for those in need.
However, this was not enough to prevent the city’s coroner having to deal with an increase in cases of hypothermia – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.