This photo was taken (we think) in February 1895. It shows people sweeping the ice on the river, perhaps preparing it for skating or maybe a curling competition. The location is just below Prebends Bridge.
February 1895 was one of the coldest Februaries ever recorded in Durham.
Trevor Harley Summary of Feb 1895
”Part of a severe winter, and the coldest February on record before 1947 this century (-1.8C CET).
The weather turned cold in late December 1894; January was cold but the weather of February 1895 was historic. Braemar logged at least -20C on 9 days.
The record February low, and equal all-time record low (along with 1982 and 1995) temperature of -27.2C was set on the 11th at Braemar. The Thames froze completely in places, the last Thames freeze. disrupting shipping, and on the 28th the River Mersey was frozen from shore to shore.
Icebergs were seen floating down the North Sea. There were some very low daytime maxima: the maximum in London on the 8th was just -6C. The period 4th-6th is probably one of the most intensely cold spells seen in Britain in modern times, although the freeze affected all of Europe (and it was also cold in North America).
Temperatures were very cold further south, too. -19.6C at Rounton in Yorkshire on 10 February. The Isle of Man recorded its lowest ever temperature on the 9th and 12th, with -11.7C at Douglas. The weather improved towards the end of the month, but the freeze didn’t really end until early March.
This winter for some marks the end of the Little Ice Age, after which global warming saw cold winters become less frequent. There wasn’t another notable winter until 1947.”
Noticeable is how little vegetation cloaks the slopes below the Cathedral. The building to the left of the photograph is the Old Fulling Mill.
Prebends Bridge can be seen in this photograph, everyone is skating!
The exact source of the photos is unknown.