1881: When the River Mersey Froze

Britain shivers and many people who have it much tougher over the winter months mock our unpreparedness and histrionics regarding late winter – and very early spring – snowfall. However, we’ve just had our coldest March day on record. It’s an unusual start to spring with the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma affecting our weather for several days.

It might be an unusual occurrence, but it does happen.

Below is a report from the Staffordshire Daily Sentinel, Thursday 20 January 1881

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 00.07.40
(from British Newspaper Archive)

‘The River Mersey was frozen over this morning between Liverpool and Birkenhead, and up the river towards Eastham there are large ice floes. A Rock Ferry steamer was caught in the ice, and it was half an hour before she could get free, and the powerful Woodside Ferry steamers had some difficulty in cutting their way through. It is over twenty years since such an occurrence happened. A dense fog now rests on the river and all but the Woodside Ferry boats have ceased running. No accidents have yet been reported with the exception of a slight collision off the landing stage, between two tugs.’

The severe storm of January 1881 resulted in many deaths being reported at the hands of the weather and it took nearly a week to dig out a train buried in snow on the tracks from Farnham to Gosport, the line used by Queen Victoria to travel to Osborne House.

Click here for a link to see a picture of the frozen River Mersey in 1895.


4 thoughts on “1881: When the River Mersey Froze

  1. No mocking from me. England rarely has the need for snow ploughs etc. The Northern US states are well prepared but the further South you go it’s diabolical! I was stranded in North Carolina for three days just after the New Year because the infrastructure couldn’t cope with a severe Nor’easter. Any time lives are endangered by weather it’s dire. We’re due to get 18” plus tonight so fingers crossed we all keep power and stay warm!!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s