By Mark McConville
AS BRITAIN continues to sizzle in the scorching summer heatwave incredible images have revealed how Londoners coped in 1937 as temperatures reached near record-breaking 32 degrees Centigrade.
The stunning shots show children cooling off in the lake at St James’ Park, women in dressed and men in suits relaxing on park benches and deck chairs in Victoria Embankment Gardens and children of the ‘Santa Claus’ home in their heatwave dress at Waterlow Park.
Other striking snaps show the crowded tea gardens in Hyde Park, adventurous holidaymakers in a soapbox canoe at Greenwich and a long queue outside the Wood Green open air pool.
This queue was only one of the many formed outside London’s open-air baths when a July heatwave sent the temperatures soaring.
Britain experienced several heatwaves in 1937. In May and June of that year, and again in August, temperatures threatened to break records, but just failed to do so.
Even so, it was extremely hot and men in particular sweltered in heavy suit jackets and trousers, and – in the case of Grenadier Guards – bearskin helmets.
This summer has seen the return of a long heatwave with the Met Office advising people to stay out of the sun as temperatures reach 34 degrees.
The heat is set to persist for the next couple of days according to BBC weather forecaster Steve Cleaton.
With a short respite in the form of cooler temperatures and spells of rain over the weekend the UK will experience a rise in temperatures again from the middle of next week.
Other pictures, discovered by the website Retronaut, show topless kids standing in front of a sweltered Grenadier Guard who stands stoically in his uniform despite the heat, children crowding around a water fountain in St James’ Park and the delight on their faces as they run a path.