What do you remember most about the summer of 1976? Was it the music, the ladybirds, or the 3 months of sunshine?
Back when Don’t Go Breaking My Heart was top of the charts and a pint of beer was 32p, England had a record-breaking wave of both heat and flared trousers.
Can you remember the plague of ladybirds? The British Entomological and Natural History Society estimates that 23 billion ladybirds were swarming on the southern and eastern coasts in July 1976.
Members of our Spring Chicken community have been reminiscing on the famous summer:
‘I was on holiday with my family and there were swarms of the darn things – if you wore anything green, heaven help you!’
‘I did my O levels in 1976. Once they were finished I had the whole of the summer to o what I wanted. I went on two holidays with different friends, to Devon and Scotland. I then got my very first Saturday job.’
‘I was pregnant and had ‘morning sickness’ that lasted all day for the whole of summer!’
Just how hot was it?
The year of ‘76 saw the worst drought in the UK in over two centuries: for fifteen consecutive days, temperatures reached 32.2°C, and for five days the temperature exceeded 35°C. There was a ban on hosepipes and even tarmac was melting.
‘My husband cracked an egg on the stainless-steel draining board as an experiment to prove how hot it was. It was sizzling!’
‘I carried my first child that summer and used to sit on the edge of my mum’s freezer to cool down. I also remember someone frying an egg on the pavement!’
The government were so concerned about the national shortage of water that Denis Howell was appointed Minister for Drought – yet, in the last week of August, the drought broke. There were severe thunderstorms that brought rain to some areas for the first time in weeks!