Remember when the River Dee in Chester froze over?

Watch footage from the 1960s of the Dee icing over in recent years

Footage of River Dee frozen over in the early 1960s

Christmas bobble hats are coming into their own and you are already on to your second tin of De-Icer.

If you think it is cold today, we take a look back to a time when temperatures plummeted enough to cause the River Dee to freeze over.

Footage uploaded to YouTube shows Cestrians messing about on the ice in the winter of 1962-1963.

Heavy snow and thick ice meant you could cycle across the river in Chester.

Chester Photographic Survey - the Weir and River Dee in 1962(Image: E Gardner Williams)

Roger Vincent, of Hargrave, was about 24 at the time and took photographs of his mother Edith sitting on a stranded boat and his friend Martin Wheeler braving the ice as the sun went down.

Speaking to The Chronicle in 2009 he said: “He was braver and more foolish than I was!” he said. “I do remember it being a long, cold winter with the river freezing more than once.”

The River Dee frozen over in 1963


Roger also remembers the river freezing over again in the 1980s.

“I was down at Sandy Lane with my family and I remember watching a man who had skated from Eccleston hitting a patch of thin ice and going straight in. There was a rush to help him and fortunately he was alright besides a cut nose.”

Mr E H Roberts of Hoole took this photograph of his wife Flo and two nuns walking the frozen River Dee in the 1960s

Another reader Jim Espley, of Bretton, recalled: “My elder daughter, who was born in November 1961, accompanied me for a walk across the River Dee at Eccleston. This led me to claim to have walked, swam and rowed across the river.

“At the same time, J Maurice Woodward told me that he ventured his car, a green Morris 8, on the ice.”

The River Dee frozen over, year unknown

Len Morgan, of Queen’s Park, remembers a Triumph Herald and a Mini being driven on to the river at Sandy Lane, while John Stoneley recalls seeing a motor bike on the ice.

Venturing on to the ice himself he remembers almost coming a cropper: “I was working with another joiner at the home of Ron Biggins the architect in Sandy Lane.

River Dee frozen in January 1963

“Before work one morning we walked down a path at the side of the property to the river, which was frozen over. Having seen nobody on the ice before I edged my way forward. Reaching somewhere about the middle, I began to hear cracking and became very scared, not knowing whether to go back or forward. Thinking I was nearer the Meadows, I went forward and reached the other side. I then had to walk to the suspension bridge and make my way back along the road. A day or two later I saw people walking there with dogs, cycling and I even saw a motorcycle going down.”

The unexpected ice rink that formed on the Dee in 1963 provided people with an opportunity to have lots of fun as the familiar picture of a couple larking about on the ice demonstrated.

Larking about on the frozen River Dee in 1963

Author Geoff Nelder, whose book Chester Climate: Past and Present chronicles when the River Dee has frozen over, sent in this picture of the river in the 1920s.

Chester author claims cold caused City Walls to fall down

The frozen River Dee in 1929 - sent in by author Geoff Nelder(Image: Miss Haynes-Thomas)

And back as recently as 2010, while there was no skating to be done, it certainly wouldn't have been easy for the ducks on the river.

The River Dee frozen over on Boxing Day 2010 in Chester

What are your memories of snow in Cheshire? Do you remember the Dee freezing over? Let us know in the comments below

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