Weather Extremes: Making and breaking records in Nottinghamshire

 extreme weather
08 Dec 2016 10:04:32.737

PA 281/16

A new exhibition at Nottingham Lakeside Arts will showcase expert research into people’s reactions to extreme weather events.

Swimming, sunbathing or sweating through a heatwave, or sledging, skating or getting stuck in the snow — extremes of weather provide people with strong memories of past events.

Now, a new exhibition coming to Nottingham Lakeside Arts, will showcase the results of three years of research into people’s reactions to extreme weather events. Many of the historical records and original archival documents which were discovered during the research (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)), will now be on display to the public.

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Extreme events

Weather Extremes: Making and breaking records in Nottinghamshire, has been jointly curated by Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham, and Professor Georgina Endfield and Dr Lucy Veale of the School of Geography.

The exhibition draws on the extensive collections held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University, and includes letters, books, pamphlets, newspaper reports, illustrations and photographs which reveal the stories of the people of Nottinghamshire and surrounding areas.

Well-remembered events featured in the exhibition include a hurricane in 1715, heatwaves in 1826, 1911 and 1976, and frosts in 1794-1795 and in the so-called “Murphy’s Winter” of 1838.

‘The year without summer’

Other documents refer to the floods of 1932, 1946, 1947 and 1960, and the cold, dark year of 1816, “the year without a summer.” Also showcased are the dedicated local meteorologists of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Henry Mellish of Hodsock, and Edward Lowe and Arnold Tinn of Nottingham, whose daily recordings of the weather still provide key evidence for historical weather conditions and climate change.

The exhibition will be opened on Thursday 15th December (5pm-7pm), by BBC Television weather presenter and meteorologist Helen Willetts.

Items of particular interest:

  • A Victorian photograph album containing images of the frozen River Trent at Nottingham frozen in 1895.
  • The diary of Nottingham solicitor William Parsons, describing skating on the River Trent in 1838.
  • Weather notebook kept by Edward Lowe, an amateur meteorologist at Highfield House — now part of the University Park campus of The University of Nottingham — in the 1860s. The notebook has been borrowed from the National Meteorological Office Library and Archive.
  • Drawings of the stunning sunsets in the UK which were produced by the ash cloud following the explosion of Mount Krakatoa, Indonesia, in 1815.

Professor Georgina Endfield, joint curator of the exhibition, said: “We are who we are partly because of the weather in which we live. Weather is locally seen and felt, frames and shapes people’s lives, and has been woven into human experience and cultural memory through oral histories, proverbs, folklore, narrative and everyday conversation.

“Unusual and extreme weather events, however, can have immediate and significant social and economic implications and are often noteworthy as a result. Drawing on Nottinghamshire-based documentary materials dating back over four centuries, this exhibition reveals the very many different ways such events have been recorded, experienced, interpreted and commemorated.”

The exhibition will be held at the Weston Gallery, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD from Friday 16 December 2016 – Sunday 26 March 2017. Admission is free.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


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More information is available from Manuscripts and Special Collections on +44 (0)115 951 4565 or at

Charlotte Anscombe – Media Relations Manager (Arts and Social Sciences)

Email:  Phone:+44 (0)115 74 84 417 Location: University Park

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