Swarms of ladybugs, melting roads and exploding homebrew – Sunderland Echo readers share their memories of the 1976 heatwave

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We asked followers of the Sunderland Echo’s dedicated Facebook nostalgia page: “There’s a heatwave coming. Who remembers the scorching summer of 1976?’

The response was outstanding and they shared memories of roads melting in the heat, swarms of ladybugs and seaweed 4 feet deep.

A follower of our page called Wearside Echoes even recalls bomb experts being called out to the 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 defuse a beer set after bottles exploded in a garage. Not mine,” he said.

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

Lee Mckinney “had ladybugs all over my eyes and had to go to the hospital.”

A crowded 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 and said it was the “time of our lives…4 feet down seaweed”.

Recalling melting sidewalks, Garry Johnson also recalled households getting their milk from the milkman as quickly as possible before it started spinning because it was in glass bottles.

Jacqueline Shaw, Linda Potts, Margaret Trotter, Pauline “Bowden” Peel, Phyllis Reay and Carmel Rinzivillo Watson were all pregnant this summer.

There was no need for cloaks at the Penshaw Carnival in 1976.

Born in July 1976, Michelle Safc Smith said: “Nearly 46 years later, my mother still never lets me forget how much she suffered. I hate the heat lol.”

Vivien Maris became the proud mother of a baby boy earlier this year and said: “He wore a vest and diaper all summer, none of the woolens that were knitted for him!”

Dale Smith spent “almost every day of the summer vacation at the beach,” and Sue Collinson was one of the many who dropped out of school that year, recalling getting “crunch burns” in the sun.

Jackie Walton was still at school but recalled that “classes were held outside under the trees in the school playground.”

Sultry at the garden party at Holy Trinity Church in Sunderland.

Owen Newsome recalled: “I remember coming on a course from a very cold Germany, 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 the pools and fishing in the river.

Gary Cole said it had been “constant heat for months” while David Shillito spent his “first full summer as a mailman in 1976, great for working outdoors”.

It was so stuffy that he “tried to sleep in the garden in the afternoons but was too hot.”

Dave Woodward recalled “water fights that lasted for days,” while Nicky Brown had memories of “people smearing themselves with baby oil, coconut oil and the like.” I can’t remember anyone using sunscreen back then.”

What memories do you have of this summer? Tell us everything via email [email protected]

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11 hot Sunderland scenes from the summer of 1976 as we prepare for another…

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