Temperature breaks July record

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The Independent Online

The all-time record British temperature for July was broken today when thermometers hit 36.3C (97.3F) at Charlwood in Surrey.

Forecasters at PA Weathercentre said the temperature was recorded just after 2.30pm at a weather station near Gatwick Airport.

The previous record of 36C (96.8F) was set at Epsom, Surrey, on July 22, 1911, while 35.9C (96.6F) was recorded at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on July 3, 1976.

Elizabeth Tennant, 55, front desk manager of the Stanhill Court Hotel, in Charlwood, said staff and customers were "melting".

She said: "It's very hot, we are all melting. I've just asked the boss for ice creams and she's considering it.

"It has felt very hot today, melting conditions, but we did not realise we were setting a record.

"We are trying to keep cool with lots of cool drinks. We are not air conditioned, but we have got lots of fans going everywhere."

Mrs Tennant said staff had taken refuge in some of the cooler parts of the large Victorian building.

"There a couple of cool spots like in the cellar, but it would be a bit drastic to take the front desk down there," she said.

One member of staff at the village's Rising Sun pub said she was surprised by the record temperatures as it had been slightly cloudy this afternoon.

She said: "It's extremely hot. The customers are all sweating. They all look red and really hot. There's sweat dripping off them."

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association warned people about the dangers of cooling off in waterways.

Former lifeguard Hazel Harding, chair of the group's safer communities board, said many councils had issued guidance to parents about the risks of lakes or rivers.

She said: "The simple truth is that local rivers and lakes are not designed for swimming and can easily kill unsuspecting bathers.

"They are not supervised and many are cold and deep with unpredictable currents. Submerged objects could also lead to serious accidents."