Turned out nice again

King Charles’ Coronation enjoyed typical British weather with intermittent drizzle, not bad for early May. But let us look at if other Monarchs’coronation days set fair.

I doubt that William the Conquer enjoyed a balmy Christmas Day in 1066 when they plonked a crown upon his head.

Queen Victoria’s coronation coincided with a period of fine weather, while confusion ensued during the ceremony, largely due to lack of rehearsal time.

After waiting for most of his life, Edward VII’s, coronation on 9th August 1902, was cool and cloudy but dry with just a few fleeting flickers of sunlight.

A decade later the coronation of George V on 22nd June 1911, was a disappointingly cloudy day with a chilly breeze although the rain held off.

Changeable seems to run through coronations, George VI’s on 11th May 1937, was similarly cool and cloudy with rain during the first part of the morning and again in the evening.

The 2nd June 1953 was an atrocious day. May that year had been a superb month with weeks of warm sunshine, eight days before Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, on Whit Monday the temperature had soared to 31.7°C in London. But by coronation day November-like conditions arrived, with dull skies, a chill wind and sporadic outbreaks of rain, the afternoon temperature climbed no higher than 12°C.

So how, during the late Queen’s reign, has the BBC presented their weather forecast?

1954: On 11th January, George Cowling is the first weather forecaster to stand facing a camera in front of a weather map. To do this, the maps were drawn by hand in the London Weather Centre using proper meteorological symbols drawn onto a synoptic chart using wax crayon and were taken across London. The forecasts, presented by the same person who had made them, were not always right.

1967: Magnetic rubber symbols are introduced, stuck onto (and occasionally falling off of) a big UK map. The symbols still match those on an “official” weather chart, with black spots for rain, triangles for showers and a big spiky ‘T’ for thunderstorms.

1974: Barbara Edwards becomes the first female forecaster and fronted broadcasts until 1978.

1975: A new set of weather symbols is introduced, still magnetic but a good deal more realistic. Now some clouds look like clouds, raindrops that look like raindrops and a sun that looks like it was drawn by a 4-year-old (the symbols were created by Mark Allen, a 22-year-old graphic designer from the Norwich College of Art). Perfectly simple, but simply perfect.

1985: New computer presentation is introduced. The map can now be shaded in different colours for different temperatures, but the symbols remain the same.

1988: The first dynamic arrows to show wind direction and strength, and the introduction of rainfall radar.

1996: Shading now depicts the land more realistically, with lumpy hills and yellowy deserts.

2005: On 16 May saw the end of the weather symbols on television after 29 years and 9 months on the air, the faithful old symbols are retired from the television weather forecast, and replaced by revolutionary 3D graphics. With cloud cover indicated by the brightness on the map. Although controversial at the time with Scotland appearing a little larger than Devon, and Shetland being almost invisible while exaggerating London and the South East, it would still win a design award.

2006: A rippling effect was introduced to define seas and oceans.

2 thoughts on “Turned out nice again”

  1. I watch the BBC weather, as it has some of my favourite presenters. Carol Kirkwood (for obvious reasons) and Tom Shafernaker. But it gets it wrong so frequently, I would be better off just looking out of the window.
    Best wishes, Pete.


    1. I used to love watching the American weather tv station on holiday, they’d get so excited about ‘precipitation’. At home Al Jazeera is great. “Oh! Look its raining in Timbuktu”.

      Liked by 1 person

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