Weather dominated the headlines in Suffolk on February 8, 1963

The front page of the EADT from 1963

The front page of the EADT from 1963

Much like today, the big story in the EADT on February 8, 1963, concerned the weather.

There were blizzards in the North and the fear of flooding in the West Country, with troops on stand-by. At the Sizewell nuclear power station a prolonged spell of cold weather led to 90 men being laid-off work.

A ballot contest for a new leader of the Labour Party was in full flow – to fill the gap left after the death of Hugh Gaitskell. The final stage in the battle for the top job was between Harold Wilson and George Brown.

In Brussels, the Foreign Secretary, Lord Home, was pledging that Britain would not “sulk” after the collapse of negotiations to secure entry into the Common Market.

Locally, a 19-year-old labourer in court accused of theft from a friend’s house was told by the deputy recorder that he was “an ungrateful, idle, young scamp” before being sent to Borstal.

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Suffolk firemen were reported to be weighing up the comparative merits of nylon and wool socks, while the cost of divisional officers’ caps was said to be soaring – because of the addition of silver wire to the peaks.

Readers were being encouraged to escape the cold British weather and to start a new life Down Under – at a cost of only £10 for the adult fare to Australia.

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A five-bedroom detached house near Christchurch Park, Ipswich, was on the market for £4,200.

In sport, Jackie Milburn was getting set to take over as the new Ipswich Town manager in the lead-up to the imminent departure of Alf Ramsey, who was about to become England national team boss.

National and international news

The weather was making the main headlines in the EADT on February 8, 1963. Under the headline “Floods menace in south-west,” the story reported on how Britain was a divided country weather-wise, with blizzards causing chaos in the North while troops were on stand-by in Devon to deal with floods. And at Sizewell nuclear power plant 90 men had been laid-off work because of a prolonged spell of cold weather.

A second leadership ballot was taking place in the Labour Party after the death of Hugh Gaitskell. The battle for the top job was between Harold Wilson and George Brown – the pair having topped the first round of voting. James Callaghan had come third, forcing him to drop out of the contest.

In Brussels, the Foreign Secretary, Lord Home, promised that Britain would not “sulk and retire from the game” after the collapse of negotiations to join the Common Market. He stressed: “We in Great Britain must remember that entry into the Common Market would not have guaranteed us automatic prosperity...”

Local news

Plans for new municipal offices in Colchester were being revealed. These included an eight-storey block, costing £ 237,000, on a site between West and East Stockwell Street. Meanwhile, in Bury St Edmunds, there was a proposal to double the size of accommodation at the borough council offices, at a cost of £72,000.

At Ipswich Quarter Sessions the Deputy Recorder (Mr Leonard Moules) told a 19-year-old labourer: “The conclusion I have come to is that you are an ungrateful, idle young scamp.” The youth, who had stolen a jacket and £7 from a gas meter at a friend’s house, was sent to Borstal.

In sport, Jackie Milburn, the new Ipswich Town manager was preparing to see his new team play their first game following his appointment as successor to Alf Ramsey, who was soon to become England boss.

There was a surprise for newly-weds at Aldringham Church. After the marriage ceremony the couple, who both worked at the Sizewell nuclear power plant, left the church through a steel tunnel section, which had been put in place by colleagues to form an unusual archway.

It was reported that Suffolk firemen were to be supplied with nylon socks after they claimed that the woollen versions shrank about two sizes. This was not universally popular, however, with fears being expressed that nylon would be uncomfortable. The fire authority’s finance committee was also informed of a considerable increase in the cost of divisional officers’ caps as they now had silver wire on the peaks.


At the cinema, the choice included King Solomon’s Mines, starring Deborah Kerr, Stewart Grainger and Richard Carlson, Lone Star (Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Broderick Crawford), El Cid (Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren), Gypsy ( Rosalind Russell, as Gypsy Rose Lee, and Natalie Wood) and Phaedra (Melina Mercouri, Anthony Perkins).

Live on stage, Shakespeare’s Henry V was on at the Ipswich Theatre while at Colchester Repertory it was Duel of Angels. Coming soon to Ipswich stages were Flower Drum Song and Die Fledermaus.

Broadcasting wasn’t quite the 24/7 event it is nowadays – the TV and radio programme schedules were tucked away at the bottom of a page under the unassuming headline “In Picture and Sound To-day”. The TV choice was limited to either BBC or Anglia – the former offering Holiday at Home, with Michael Holiday and guests, followed by Mr Justice Duncannon, the sitcom starring Andrew Cruickshank. On Anglia, it was Take Your Pick, with Michael Miles, Emergency Ward 10, then Bonanza (Lorne Green, Dan Blocker et al). There was also a Television Playhouse slot with a 60-minute drama There’s No Room for you Here For a Start.

The adverts

Readers were being offered the chance to escape the British weather and to start a new life in the “up-and-coming land” of Australia – “eight-and-half hours of sunshine a day”– plus “room to move... the freedom, the future for you and your children.” And all for an adult fare of £10 (under-19s go free).

On the roads, the new Standard Ensign had arrived – “the most powerful, largest and best-proven car at its price” (£745). The 2,138cc engine promised 90mph and “to go endlessly at 70 – 50mph in 12.4 seconds.” Reassuringly, it was also “very, very waterproof – withstanding 30 inches of rain as it leaves the assembly line with not a trickle inside.”

For the ladies, the Corders store (incorporating Gardiners) was advertising the advisory services of a Warner’s consultant, Mrs M McOwan, in their corsetry department – presenting a specially selected range of “slimwear” and bras.

The Carlton Hotel, Great Yarmouth, was offering a “luxurious winter weekend” when you could “spend the day golfing and the night dancing, enjoy the bracing sea air or relax in the superb comfort of the Carlton’s lounges” ­– all for 57shillings (£2.85) inclusive.

At Westons “Anglia’s premier radio and TV shop” in Needham Market a slim-line “junior” fridge was available at the specially reduced price of 29 guineas (£30.45) or £3.9s (£3.45) deposit and 78 weekly payments of 8s 3d (41p). DER was promising to “bring TV within reach of everyone” with weekly rental only 7.11d (40p) – “all repairs absolutely free”.

Intriguingly, one advertiser was seeking “tame rabbits” – promising “top prices on collection”.

Looking for a house?

TUDDENHAM ROAD, near Christchurch Park; detached house; entrance hall, 3 reception, kitchen/breakfast room (h and c), sink unit, Rayburn room heater with back boiler etc; 5 bedrooms, well-fitted bathroom (h and c), 2 wcs, cellar, all main services and telephone, garage; large secluded garden. £4,200.

Or a job?

Employment vacancies on February 8, 1963, included:

Male ward orderly; £9 19s 8d (£9.98) per 42-hour week, extra for night and weekend duties – Walnuttree Hospital, Sudbury.

W A Turner, The Garden Factory, Stowmarket ­– owing to rapid extension of business we urgently require female workers in our bakery and sausage department.

Supervising foreman required for East Suffolk County Council Roads and Bridges Department, Eye. To take charge of gangs on maintenance and improvement of roads by direct labour. Must be experienced in all modern methods, materials and use of machinery. Wages £13 15s (£13.75) per week.

Welcome to the world

BRYAN – On February 4, 1963, at Phyllis Memorial Maternity Home, to Betty and Alastair, a daughter.

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