As snow makes a brief appearance in Birmingham today its a good time to look back at kids in the snow 100 years ago. Picture World showed images of children having ‘fun and frolic’ tobogganing in Sutton Park in February 1917. There appears to have been a lot of snow that winter as there were several letters in the press such as this one from the Birmingham Mail on 29 December 1916 warning of the dangers of the activity. There had obviously been several accidents already – although the
article doesn’t state whether its adults or children that are the victims.
The Evening Despatch of Monday 15 January 1917 gave details of the wintry weather that had lasted all weekend in Birmingham. Unlike today the temperatures stayed low and the snow did not melt leaving the suburban roads in ‘excellent condition for toboganning’. At the end of the month the Despatch reported that many of the pools and ponds in Birmingham were frozen enough to allow skating: they included Cannon Hill Park, Ward End Park, Small Heath Park, Sutton Park and Edgbaston Hall. At the latter 6d was charged for admission and the proceeds given to the Lady Mayoress’s War Fund. At Small Heath it was reported that 8000 men and boys were skating and sliding. At Cannon Hill the ice covering wasn’t complete and several boys got a soaking for venturing too close to the ice holes.
It wasn’t all just about having fun though. There were several reports, and the inevitable letters to the paper, about the state of the pavements and streets due to ice and snow. A shortage of council labourers meant that householders were now expected to clear the fronts of their houses themselves. Picture World illustrated the solution with this image of a ‘bonny little girl’ now doing the work of her absent daddy.