“IF you’re old enough to remember 1947”, declares the Met Office online blog, “then you’ll almost certainly have the winter as one of your most vivid memories of the year.

“For meteorologists and climatologists, the winter of 1947 was a standout year for the UK, but the statistics don’t tell the full story of the severity of the winter and the significant impact that it had on communities across the UK”.

A long succession of snowstorms between late January and mid-March made that winter the snowiest since the mid-nineteenth century. In some places, the army was called in to free roads and railways of snowdrifts that were up to seven metres deep in parts.

The endless snow meant endless fun for children, of course; above, kids go sledging at Ringwood, Dumbreck, in Glasgow, while the Prentice brothers - Alex, nine, and David, ten - make their way from school to their home near Biggar via a 4ft-high snow channel.

Snow fell almost continuously across Scotland on Wednesday, February 5: snowfalls seven inches deep were encountered in Dundee, and the local council despatched 15 snowploughs and 450 men to cover the affected streets with salt or sand.

The mail trains from the east of England to Edinburgh were delayed by four hours. Snow lay nearly a foot deep in many districts of Dunfermline - and two feet in the central part of town. Glasgow and the west, however, were relatively unscathed.

By the following day, almost all of Britain lay under snow.

The Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, surveying the national situation, issued a statement from 10 Downing Street.

“The exceptionally severe weather”, he acknowledged, “has brought difficulties and even hardships upon many people in all parts of the country which they are bearing so well.

“In this message I wish on behalf of His Majesty’s Government to express the warm appreciation of the splendid effort made by all engaged in transport - railwaymen, merchant seamen, road transport, canal and dock workers, and by those in the mining industry”.

By the Saturday of that week, the Scottish senior football programme consisted in its entirety of three Scottish Cup first-round replays, a second-round tie and three Division ‘A’ fixtures. Two already-re-arranged league fixtures - Celtic-St Mirren and Cowdenbeath-Dundee United - were postponed because of snow and frost.

To make matters worse, a nationwide fuel shortage directly affected millions of people that winter.

As Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds’ book, Attlee: A Life in Politics, observes, one of the most potent slogans the Conservatives used against the Attlee government was ‘Shiver with Shinwell’, a reference to Attlee’s under-fire minister of fuel and power, Manny Shinwell.

Read more: Herald Diary