Title ID 1032Collection ID577
TitleHerne Bay on Ice
DateFebruary 1963
CollectionDing Dong Films pt 3
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionActuality/Factual
KeywordsBeaches Weather Winter Piers Seaside Resorts Seasons
LocalHerne Bay
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionRoy Bell
CameraRoy Bell
ProducerDing Dong Films
Format16mm Colour Sound
Duration6 min. 50 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A record of the time the sea froze in Herne Bay. The phenomenon occurred during the severe winter of 1963. The film-maker has added illustrated titles and his own commentary.


The film begins with a close-up of a greetings card depicting a child and a snowman on a sledge, setting the wintry theme. A general view of the bay at Hampton shows the frozen water’s edge. People walk along the promenade and survey the scene from a jetty. Lingering shots of the broken ice floating through the bay. A man films the ice from the promenade. Wide-angle shots show the whole bay frozen including the icebound pier. Views in the east of the bay where there is slightly less ice. Seagulls float on the ice. A view towards the town from Herne Bay pier. Crowds watch the ice flow under the pier. Several close-ups of the ice show its texture. The final shot shows the ice’s presence diminishing in the bay.


A Still from 'Herne Bay on Ice' (1963) showing the frozen sea

Contextual information

This extraordinary event, known as the 'Big Freeze', occurred during the severe winter of 1962-3. Much of the country had been gripped by sub-zero temperatures since the beginning of the winter, many areas of the country also experiencing heavy snowfall. Local newspaper reports indicate that the sea had frozen once before within living memory, during the winter of 1947.

The film is a particularly elegant portrait of this unusual wintry spectacle. Most of the shots are static, allowing the ice to move through the frame, and although handheld, the shots are exceptionally steady.

Related titles

Related resources


Freeze-up All Round

This Pathé newsreel records the effect of the 'Big Freeze' across the country - it includes footage of the frozen sea at Herne Bay. The film can be accessed via the British Pathé Website.

Newspaper Articles

Kentish Express*. Herne Bay Press, *Kent Messenger

The Kent History and Library Centre holds copies of these local newspapers. The January and February 1963 issues contain articles and photographs on the ‘big freeze’ in Herne Bay and surrounding area.