Weather in the archives


NewspaperLocal newspapers provide an excellent source of information about the weather, particularly the more unusual events. For Staffordshire the most comprehensive and consistent newspaper source is the Staffordshire Advertiser, 1795-1972, which was the county newspaper. This is held for these years at the William Salt Library, Stafford, Microfilm copies are also held by Stoke on Trent City Archives.

The Staffordshire Advertiser is complemented by runs of local newspapers held at main libraries in the County. Contact your local library for details.
As the county paper, the Advertiser covered both major weather occurrences, which affected significant areas of Staffordshire, and severe weather events, which had a marked impact on specific places. For the 19th and early 20th centuries especially, the language used in the articles is very descriptive and graphic and there is usually a considerable amount of detail. Photographs of events and places are not used, however, until after about 1930.
In addition to accounts of specific weather events, for the 19th century there are also monthly agricultural reports, which provide a summary of the state of agriculture in the county. Depending on the situation at the time, these usually make some mention of the state of the weather, which had a major impact on agricultural progress.
Newspapers are rarely indexed and so they can be quite time-consuming to search. However they are extremely rewarding for the details which they reveal about the county’s meteorological history.

Extracts from this archive source can be found alongside other source material in the Month by Month section, arranged chronologically to show the progression of weather through each month.