WHEN the heavens open, it doesn’t take long for a new hair-do to turn into a soggy mess.

With our wet British climate, rainwear is vital armoury for any time of year. And maybe more so in Bradford, one of the wettest cities in the UK.

These ladies, snapped at an unknown location, are wearing wet weather attire typical of older generations from the 1940s up to the late 1970s, when plastic rain bonnets that tied under the chin were common. The rain-mac-and-bonnet combo would be often worn, the scarf protecting newly coiffed hair, or carefully positioned over rollers.

Plain plastic or decorated with flowers or other motifs, the inexpensive see-through rain bonnets that you could pop in your handbag, offered a handy, if very basic, port in a storm.

They are still around today, and amazingly, are seeing a resurgence in retro-vintage circles.

Umbrellas, of course, will never go out of fashion and in Bradford, it is advisable to always carry one.

In 2017 Bradford was ranked as the seventh rainiest city in Britain and is the third wettest English city. More than a metre of rain falls on the city every year, with Bradford experiencing 152 days of rain every 12 months, said a study by rainwater harvesting company Freeflush, using data from the Met Office.

Throughout the decades, Bradford has seen many downpours that would have required more than a rain bonnet.

In 1946, the rain fell in bucketload., resulting in some of the worst floods Bradford has ever seen, as the whole of the city centre, from Thornton Road to Canal Road, was under water.

Bradford was ‘besieged by water’, as the T&A put it, in July 1968, A violent thunderstorm at the beginning of the month flooded the lower-lying parts of the city, while temperatures rose to what was reported as a ‘dizzy, sticky heat’.

The T&A reported hailstones the size of bullets and a torrential downpour turned city centre streets into rivers.

A former sailor marooned in the city centre was reported as saying: "It's flowing at about five knots along Broadway towards Forster Square."

Similar scenes were repeated in the city centre in 1982, when police frogmen were sent to check for casualties as torrents of water swept down the subways.

Between 1990 and 1993 the Bradford Beck Alleviation Scheme took place, involving the construction of a 1.3km of 3.7m-diameter concrete tunnel underneath the city centre, to divert water away.

In the 1950s, the city centre went through a period of regeneration, during which the channel of the beck was widened and deepened.

Decades later though, heavy rain was still causing problems as the issue of how to deal with it was still being discussed.

In recent years it has also been well-documented how giant underground tanks have come to the aid of the city in times of torrential rain.

Today, the average monthly amount of rainfall in Bradford stands at around 75 mm (three inches). Throughout the month you can expect to see rain or drizzle falling on six days.

So, mac, bonnet, brolly, wellies and other rain-friendly gear is a must in Bradford. But if the outlook isn’t sunny, we can console ourselves in the knowledge that there are some worse off.

Bradford falls well behind the UK’s wettest city, Cardiff, which has 1,152mm of rain every year compared to our 1,024mm.