The Big Freeze of 1963 in Long Itchington

Long Itchington, 1963
Image courtesy of Diane

As a kid, history had always fascinated me with lots of visits to Kenilworth Castle not far from Coventry on my bike. I never had a camera back then, so sorry – I have no photos. But it was the story of the “Ducking Stool” used to punish witches at this intriguing pond site that fascinated me – my aunt, uncle and cousin lived in this odd little village – odd because in comparison to the city of Coventry – Long Itchington, was another world away, back to the time of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Shakespeare who lived a short distance away in the town of Stratford.

Somehow Long Itchington steeped in history with its “Tudor House” and that “pond”! And its association relating to a ducking stool long gone – and witches. Was it simply a story I don’t know but it seems very likely.

However, just before I emigrated to New Zealand in the first few days of January 1964, 12,000 miles away from home (Coventry) in the first few days of January 1964. Having bought a brand new camera – it was a last chance trip I would make to Long Itchington to visit my aunt and uncle, it would also be my last chance to experience winter (Auckland in NZ  much warmer) in what would become known as “the Big Freeze of 1963”.

It is not that this photo is of any particular merit, except that it shows what winter would most likely have been like 400 years earlier, long before any concept of climate change as it also shows the “Tudor House” across the frozen “at the edges” pond that had always fascinated me, as well as the witches story.

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