Incredible pictures show London during the record-breaking hot summer of 1976

Londoners took to fountains, lakes, rivers and pools to desperately try to cool off

Last summer’s weather wasn’t all that, so we’ve all been hoping for a blockbuster heatwave in 2022. And, so far, the spring weather has been hopeful. Could this therefore mean we’re set for a record hot summer which will have us all cooling off in lidos, rivers and fountains around the capital?

We’ve certainly has some corking summers in the past. 2018 saw the hottest summer on record in recent years but the Met Office considers this to be tied with 2003, 2006 and 1976 as the hottest summers on record. June, July and August 2018 saw crop failures, hosepipe bans and wildfires as well as temperatures regularly reaching above 30 °C.

But the summer of 1976 is still the one that people always talk about as being Britain and London’s hottest. That year only a few places registered more than half their average summer rainfall.

READ MORE: London’s lost lidos and swimming ponds where we used to spend our summers

Heathrow had 16 consecutive days over 30 °C from June 23 to July 8, and for 15 consecutive days from June 23 to July 7 temperatures reached 32.2 °C somewhere in England.

Furthermore, five days saw temperatures exceed 35 °C. On June 28, temperatures reached 35.6 °C in Southampton, the highest June temperature recorded in the UK.

That year Londoners took to the water anywhere they could find it. They flocked to lakes, rivers, ponds and canals to try to cool off. We’ve pulled together some of the best and funniest images taken by press photographers that year in the hope they will spark some amazing memories of that long hot summer of 76.

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