With July's heatwave expected to peak on Tuesday we take a look back at the unforgettable summer of 1976
England is in the grip of a blistering heatwave that might see all previous records melt away by Tuesday.
But how does this week's prolonged hot weather compare to the record-breaking summer of 1976?
It remains one of the most prolonged hot spells in living memory.
The 1976 heatwave spanned 15 days in June and July and became one of the country's driest summers on record.
Crops failed, water supplies were short, reservoirs all but disappeared and emergency measures had to be introduced by the government as a lengthy hot summer and a number of drier than average winters plunged the UK into a crisis.
Temperatures in 1976 were at their peak between June 23 and July 7.
It was a two-week long hot spell - or just over - during the course of which at least somewhere in England on each of those 15 days recorded a temperature of more than 32.2C.
Families flocked to beaches around England's coastline, carnivals and children's sports days took place under red-hot sunshine and lidos and outdoor pools were packed with people attempting to cool off and find some respite from the unrelenting sunshine.
The hottest day of that year proved to be July 3 when the mercury crept to 35.9C in Cheltenham - a record since surpassed by hotter temperatures including most recently the 38.5C recorded in Faversham, Kent in August 2003.
Cambridge then took the crown with 38.7C on July 25, 2019. This remains the hottest day on record to date.
While the Environment Agency and water companies are currently appealing for us to use water wisely as they keep a close watch over river levels and reserves, back in 1976 things were so bad the Labour administration considered shipping in supplies from abroad when rivers reached a record low.
Hosepipe bans were put in place, emergency communal standpipes were introduced as taps ran dry and all pumping from rivers had to be stopped.
And for those who have chuckled at winter gritters being put on standby in July to deal with tarmac softened by the heat, the roads did indeed melt in '76.
There are anecdotal tales of parked motorbikes falling over in the street as their stands sunk into the road like quick sand - only adding to the woes of council officials attempting to steer the country through a myriad of problems created by the dry weather.
Sharing baths became common place, washing up water was forcefully sent down the toilet to avoid flushing and dirty cars, windows, paths and front steps almost became something to be proud of as people joined the war-like effort to save water across the country.
So critical was the situation that avid cricket fans at Lord's even opted to cheer when a few drops of rain halted play for 15 minutes in June.
In 1976, farmers suffered some of the worst conditions they had seen since the 1920s, with many facing devastating financial losses.
George Dowse, divisional agriculture officer for Kent in 1976, warned the Evening Post newspaper on August 25: "The financial loss for farmers is going to be considerable and agriculture will take a long time to recover."
Nationally £500 million of crops were destroyed and food prices soared by 12%, but Brewery Shepherd Neame reported sales were up by 8% on the previous year and were at their highest since the war.
Towards the end of August Lord Denis Howell was appointed Minister for Drought and he warned of water rationing until December - while a special drought bill meant there was the risk of a fine for anyone caught wasting the wet stuff.
It is believed the Prime Minister at the time James Callaghan even suggested his ministers did a rain dance as things in Number 10 got desperate and ideas ran dry.
However, a week later severe thunderstorms brought widespread flooding to the country, leaving the country rejoicing at the sudden onset of rain and Lord Howell taking on a new role as Minister for Floods.