The last really severe winter of the 20th Century occurred in 1978/79, and although not as cold as 1963 or as snowy as 1947, it was memorable none the less. Much of the UK experienced long cold spells with heavy snowfall. The other thing which makes 1979 special is that it was the first severe winter to occur in the UK after colour photography had become widespread and was recent enough for people in their 30s or older to remember. I can personally recall heavy snow that year, especially during the middle part of February. Although a number of cold winters followed in the 1980s, none of them could match 1979.
The winter of 1978/79 was the third coldest of the 20th century. Although December 1978 had been a rather cold month, the coldest weather was reserved for January and February. Both months were very cold with widespread snowfall. Particularly cold conditions were recorded during the middle of February with heavy snow on Valentine's Day. The cold winter probably compounded the industrial unrest during what famously became known as the winter of discontent.
Photo provided by Adam Robinson
Photo provided by David Dawber
See more snow in 'Readers photos from the winters of 1979 - Part 2'
Barbecues at the ready?
May weather forecast
Summer 2016 update 4
Early May Bank holiday 2016
Regularly updated discussion forecasts.
14 day outlook
Cookies and privacy
We welcome your feedback and suggestions.