Derbyshire weather: How current heatwave compares to record-breaking sweltering summer of 1976 when water was rationed and hosepipes were banned

While you’re sweltering in the heat count yourself lucky that Derbyshire people are faring better than they did back in the record-breaking summer of 1976.

Monday, 18th July 2022, 1:51 pm

Water is still readily available so families can continue to keep their gardens looking their best and kids’ paddling pools topped up.

Turn back the clock 46 years to the hottest summer since records began when the barometer climbed to 80deg C in parts of Derbyshire.

The introduction of a Drought Act rationed water and standpipes were introduced. People were banned from using watering cans, buckets and hosepipes to refresh gardens, parks and golf courses.

Residents of Inkersall collect water from a field tap meant for cattle during the summer of 1976 (photo: Pat Bradley)

A picture from the Derbyshire Times archives shows residents in Inkersall collecting water from a tap in a field meant for cattle.

The water level dropped so low at Ladybower Reservoir that the church tower of the flooded village of Derwent was visible.

In South Normanton Ruth Hutchins had to barricade herself in her bathroom when her Irish red setter ran amok in the heat.

But it wasn’t all bad news in 1976. Not only did Derbyshire and the rest of the country bask in one of the hottest summers on record but it was also one of the most affordable years in living memory.

Families looking to escape into rural Derbyshire for a walk in a cool forest, picnic by a river or a thirst-quenching drink in a country pub could tank up their car for 77p a gallon, buy a loaf of bread for 19p or grab a pint for 32p!

The baking hot days of summer 1976 lasted from late June until the first week in September, momentarily broken by a brief drizzle in late August.