London and the Great Freeze

This day in London’s history: on 24 November 1434 the River Thames froze over. This was a not uncommon occurrence between the 15th and early 19th century. On this occasion, according to B Lambert, author of ‘The history and survey of London and its environs’:

“In the year 1434 a great frost began on the 24th of November, and held till the 10th of February, following ; whereby the river Thames was so strongly frozen, that all sorts of merchandizes and provisions brought into the mouth of the said river were unladen, and brought by land to the city.”

In later years, there were Frost Fairs held on the Thames; the most memorable of these was in the winter of 1683-1684, known as The Great Freeze, when the Thames was frozen for two months. According to the diarist John Evelyn, “The frost continuing more and more severe, the Thames before London was still planted with booths in formal streets, all sorts of trades and shops furnished and full of commodities, even to a printing press.”

Even more recently (in 2010) the River Wye froze; in December of that year the ice started to melt and crack into pieces that floated downstream.

Frozen Wye Frozen Wye 2

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