DURING the recent heatwave it was difficult to remember a period hotter and drier, but in 1976 it was both of those.

That year, temperatures were often well into the 30s Celsius and the south went 45 days without a drop of rain.

And on June 28, the UK’s highest temperature up until that date was recorded in Southampton, at 35.6 Celsius (96.1 Fahrenheit).

The winter beforehand had been dryer than usual, so the hot summer of 1976 became a severe drought.

Heath fires became a frighteningly common occurrence.

Five hundred people heading for Matchams Country Club became trapped in Matchams Stadium as one of the New Forest’s worst ever fires burned around them.

These pictures show not just the heatwave of 1976 but also some in the years since.