This article has merit in interest but is a precursor to a following article containing the results from a large new work about Met Office gridded data CRUTEM3, HadSST3 and HadCRUT3. Links to the event of 1956 as a validation mark.
In looking for evidence of a major cold snap in France the following personal account article appeared, it has sunspots SSW and lots of falling snow.
The winter of 1956 in the Southern Hemisphere
That year ended with a terribly cold wave in the Southern Hemisphere, with snow mixed with rain at Geraldton in Western Australia, at a latitude 28.48 ° South, which was the snowfall at lowest latitude ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. Usually, cold waves affecting Europe and North America are a consequence of stratwarming, which is an unusual heating of the stratosphere above the North Pole, which in turn leads to tropospheric arctic anticyclones, with consequent descent of cold air to lower latitudes.
But not so in 1955-1956, the longest and geographically widest cold wave in the 20th century.