This winter is the 60th anniversary of the legendary Big Freeze – one of the coldest periods in Britain since records began.

Snow began falling on Boxing Day in the south of England and the thermometer read 0ºF some mornings, equivalent to minus 18ºC.

The subsequent two-day blizzard led to snow drifts of 10ft to 15ft in places which caused continuous driving problems and snow on the ground until early March.

The other hazard was roads being blocked by snow drifting off the fields whipped up by strong easterly winds.

Many country roads were blocked and cleared several times that winter.

The road from Crondall to Farnham was only single track for at least two weeks after the initial snow fall.

As these 1963 Alton Mail pictures show, from the family in Whitehill who built themselves an igloo, and the skaters on Frensham Little Pond to the children tobogganing on the Flood Meadows in Alton, the desire to play in the snow was as strong then as it is now.

But buses, milk tankers, postmen and other delivery vans did though carry on, often with the help of snow chains, and schools remained open – thanks in large part to the huge community snow ploughing effort.

The surveyor’s department of Alton Division – Hampshire County Council was then divided into 11 areas – had cleared most of the 300 miles of roads in the division within days, enabling normal life to continue.

Of those, 87 miles had been blocked, but by early January only two and a half miles remained inaccessible.

Mr Jenner, the county surveyor, was reported in the Alton Mail to have praised the drive and cheerfulness of the 64 road clearers, who worked up to 18 hours a day, using 24 snowploughs, 12 of which were manned by local farmers contracted to do the work.