Flashing back to the 2010 cold snap

Though new year weather forecasts are relatively mild, with snow only really expected in parts of Scotland, the story could not have been more different at the start of 2010, when Hastings and the rest of the Sussex area got off to a truly frosty start to the new decade.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 4:35 pm

Workers, commuters and returning school children woke up to snow-choked pavements and icy, treacherous roads on the morning of January 7 in what would turn out to be the start of biggest freeze since 1962/3.

The harsh weather, which only followed similarly disruptive snow from that December, would continue throughout January, keeping schools closed, disrupting railway lines and icing over roads.

Aside from making it much harder to get around, the frosty conditions meant emergency services had a tough time getting help to those who needed it.

A lack of rock salt meant that Conquest Hospital could not grit its car park properly and had to resort to clearing their car parks and ambulance bay by plough, a tactic which, despite the use of rock salt substitutes, left a “thin sheet of ice” across the surface of the tarmac.

The shortage of rock salt on roads was an issue throughout 1066 country, with roads in Bexhill so icy they disrupted business.

Shops and cafes in Bexhill town centre reported they had lost business because customers, unable to walk along the slippery pavement, simply chose to stay at home.

Some supermarkets, like those in Seabourne Road, ran out of vital supplies like milk, because deliveries were unable to get through, and customers, eager to stock up on staple food items like, meat milk, bread and vegetables bought up supplies almost as quickly as they came in. Gavin Strachan, then manager of the Co-op, said at the time: “We were so busy that when the bread came in late it never made the shelves and stayed in the trays.”

In Battle, elderly residents were left unable to leave their homes because of the frosty conditions and treacherous pavements.

On estates like Starrs Mead, where seven of the nine houses were occupied by residents over the age of 75, the burden of grocery shopping fell on the few residents equipped to deal with the ruthless cold.

It was not all doom and gloom, however. The cold snap gave many communities in 1066 country the chance to come together, despite the adversity.

In one instance, volunteers working at Brede Parish council braved the cold weather to, bring milk, bread and other important staples to more than 100 elderly people throughout the village.

At the same time communities throughout 1066 country came alive with snowmen, snowball fights, sledge slopes and beautifully built snow villages. For all the chaos it caused, 1066 country definitely looked good under a blanket of snow.