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Swarms of ladybirds, melting roads and exploding home brew - Sunderland Echo readers share their memories of the 1976 heatwave

It was hot, it was memorable and now you’ve shared your amazing recollections of the summer of 1976.

Saturday, 14th May 2022, 11:47 am

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We asked followers of the Sunderland Echo’s specialist Facebook nostalgia page ‘There's a heatwave on the way. Who remembers the scorching summer of 1976?’

The response was superb and you shared memories of roads melting in the heat, swarms of ladybirds and seaweed which was 4ft deep.

One follower of our page, which is called Wearside Echoes, even remembers bomb experts being called out to home brew which was overheating.

Scenes from the summer of 1976.

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Brian Thurlbeck had an amazing memory of that summer.

Bomb experts had to ‘disarm some beer home brew kit because bottles were exploding in a garage. Not mine’, he said.

Jeff Jameson said: “My wife was 16 and on holiday in Scarborough. She always says that the pathways in Peasholm Park were covered in millions of ladybirds, was like a carpet.”

Lee Mckinney had ‘ladybirds all over, in my eyes, had go hospital.”

A packed beach at Seaburn.

Isabella Surtees said there were so many of the creatures ‘they were in our hair and our clothes...a living nightmare.”

Jacki Thew went to the Cat and Dog steps every day as said it was the ‘time of our lives .. 4ft deep seaweed’.

Garry Johnson remembered pavements melting and also recalled households getting their milk in from the milkman as soon as possible before it started to turn because it was in glass bottles.

Jacqueline Shaw, Linda Potts, Margaret Trotter, Pauline ‘Bowden’ Peel, Phyllis Reay and Carmel Rinzivillo Watson were all pregnant that summer.

No need for coats at Penshaw Carnival in 1976.

Michelle Safc Smith was born in July of 1976 and said: “Nearly 46 years on, my mother still doesn’t let me forget how much she suffered. I actually hate the heat lol.”

Vivien Maris became the proud mum of a baby boy that year and said: “He wore a vest and nappy all summer, none of the woolies knitted for him!”

Dale Smith spent ‘nearly every day of the summer holidays down the beach’ and Sue Collinson was one of the many who left school that year and remembered she got ‘burnt to a crisp’ in the sun.

Jackie Walton was still at school but remembered ‘lessons were out under the trees on the school playing field’.

Sweltering at the Sunderland Holy Trinity Church garden fete.

Owen Newsome recalled: “I remember coming from a very cold Germany on a course, we were all wearing top coats. The plane doors opened and we were hit with the heat.”

Alison Jane Tribe said: “It was the best summer ever’ with lots of time spent in swimming pools and fishing in the river.

Gary Cole said it was ‘constant heat for months’ while David Shillito spent 1976 in his ‘first full summer as a postman, great to be working outdoors’.

It was so stifling that he ‘tried to sleep in the garden in the afternoons but was too hot’.

Dave Woodward remembered ‘water fights for days’ while Nicky Brown had memories of ‘people coating themselves in baby oil, coconut oil and the like. Can't remember anyone using sunscreen back then.’

What are your memories of that summer? Tell us all about it by emailing [email protected]

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