Sea water does not freeze easily and thanks to the Gulf Stream, sea-ice is a rare sight in British waters. Just occasionally though, after a long period of bitter easterly winds, the creeks and rivers of the Thames Estuary begin to fill with ice.
The winter of 1947 was one of the coldest on record, with night time temperatures in Essex as low as -20.6 C, and with snowfall somewhere in Britain every day between January 22nd and March 17th.
These pictures of ice floes in Benfleet Creek were taken from the old bridge to Canvey Island, or from its immediate vicinity.
I have seen a photograph of ice surrounding the ferry to Canvey in 1929, and I remember similar conditions in January or February of 1963. I am not sure though whether the Creek has ever frozen since then, and in an era of climate change, one wonders if it ever will again.
Amazingly, twelve years after this original post was published, we have come across these photographs of the frozen creek in 1963. Thanks to Dee Chamberlain for allowing us to share these wonderful pictures!
(There is also an interesting comment below, by Colin Mac, regarding the 1963 freeze)