Weather in the archives


Farmers DiariesThe weather has always been one of the main topics of conversation in this country. It continues to be so as we all become increasingly concerned about the impact of climate change on our world. This exhibition takes a look at weather in the past, drawing on the many sources available in Staffordshire’s rich archive collections.

Archive sources show that, in the recorded past, winters in the county were often longer and colder, snowfalls were heavier and frosts much more prolonged than now. Springs were cool and later than in the recent past. Summers were very changeable in temperature, although there were some short periods of excessively hot weather. As may be expected in a county with large rivers and wide flood plains, flooding was frequent and often destructive. Damage to buildings from high winds and gales was common in days when buildings were less securely constructed. Until the early 18th century, phenomena, such as earthquakes, comets and eclipses, were viewed as omens which could herald, among other things, periods of inclement weather. What is certainly true is that bad weather in the town or the countryside was disruptive to life, work and the economy.

This exhibition draws attention to the many archive sources in the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service for the study of weather in the past. There are more sources available for the 19th and 20th centuries than for earlier ones but the amount of information which can be gleaned overall is perhaps surprising.

If you would like to consult the records used in this exhibition and others, follow this link to find out how to make a visit.

Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent ArchiveService
Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent Archive Service - 2009