The national obsession with weather kicked into overdrive with the 'Thundersnow' talk on Thursday – it didn't quite pan out that way.

There are few things that grab the attention of the Great British Public more than a spell of wintry weather, and Thursday’s sudden turn for the cold brought with it the thrill of a new word with which to scare each other: Thundersnow!

The excitement didn’t last: the promised drama of thunderstorms didn’t materialise.

And as for the snow…

Some people had more, of course, and there remains a risk of flooding in some parts of Britain. But even in the areas which normally get blanketed, it was a dusting rather than a deluge.

So without the promised ‘snowmaggeddon’ bringing us a string of beautiful wintry pictures to enjoy, instead sit back and soak up Country Life’s picture essay of times in the past when we really got a good dumping of the white stuff.

These images of wonderful winters of the past come from the Science & Society Picture Library. 


Nuns on the (toboggan) run

Snow days


The brewery delivery man shows the true meaning of ice-cold beer

Snow days


It’s always the right time to do the conga

Snow days


Shadow dancer

Snow days


Steam trains and snowy winters? The old days really were just like your grandfather always told you…

Snow days


Frozen lakes of yesteryear – without a health and safety official in sight

Snow days


Definitely the wrong type of snow

Snow days


These sheep were only too happy to be told to huddle up – just to keep warm

Snow days


“What do you mean, ‘I still have to go to school’? You can’t be serious!”

Snow days


Let’s just hope the driver doesn’t brake too suddenly…

Snow days


If you hadn’t seen the skier, what would you think had made these patterns…?

Snow days