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Outstandingly dry: the annual rainfall at Upminster (Essex) was some 11.25 inches (or 286 mm) which is about half of the average during the first half of the 20th century. Severe frost from 24th November(OS) to 9th February(OS). The Thames was completely frozen for about two months during this severe winter: a frost fair was held on the river - however, remember that the 'old' London Bridge would have restricted the river flow considerably and allowed such ice to form readily [see note at the introduction to these records].

(These low values were not beaten until 1921 q.v.) The extended dry weather was noted elsewhere across England & Ireland, and in Ulster, where a 'severe drought' is said to have lasted from 1714 to 1719, it is thought that the adverse conditions for agriculture led to a major migration of Ulster-Scots from there to North America, specifically to Pennsylvania. 25th January: ice on Thames in London lifted by some 14ft (~ 4.3m) by a flood tide but did not break.

Great damage was done to shipping, with many deaths.

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The damage due to the storm and flood in London alone was estimated to be £ 2 000 000. On the south Wales coast, a tidal surge drove up the Bristol Channel, leaving the port of Bristol in ruins, and the hinterland under water. Considerable structural damage occurred across England & Wales, with large loss of standing timber (much as 1987/Oct).

Approach it leisurely, with the intention of just making it to the top, or go for the big effort and bust a lung on the long drag to the crest. Pick a calm day with no wind, and ensure you approach the start of the climb along Old London Road from the north to give you the maximum speed onto the bottom zigzag. But as a general rule of thumb: if you can do it in under seven minutes, you're doing well; under six minutes and your doing fantastically; under five minutes and I'll get Dave Brailsford on the phone.

Then hold that speed until the café and don’t let the hordes of weekend cyclists and cars get in your way.

The 5th Floor is a collective of cyclists, based in London and New York, who race across many different formats, from road to CX.

Here, five members of the team explain their favourite hill climbs in and around London. With a 5pc average gradient over the distance, Box Hill is as easy or as hard as you make it.

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