River Thames frost fairs

River Thames Frost Fairs

River Thames frost fairs

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River Thames frost fairs were held on the Tideway of the River Thames at London between the 15th and 19th centuries when the river froze over. During that time the British winter was more severe than now, and the river was wider and slower.

During the Great Frost of 1683–84, the worst frost recorded in England,Andrew B. Appleby; Epidemics and Famine in the Little Ice Age; Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 10, No. 4, History and Climate: Interdisciplinary Explorations (Spring, 1980), pp. 643–63Gordon Manley 1684: The Coldest Winter in the English Instrumental Record.Weather Journal 1975*G. Manley, , Quarterly J. of the Royal Meteorological Society, vol. 100, pp. 389–405 (1974). the Thames was completely frozen for two months, with the ice reaching a thickness of 11 inches (28 cm) in London. Solid ice was reported extending for miles off the coasts of the southern North Sea (England, France and the Low Countries), causing severe problems for shipping and preventing the use of many harbours. Near Manchester, the ground was frozen to 27 inches; in Somerset, to more than four feet.

Historical background

One of the earliest accounts of the Thames freezing comes from AD 250, when it was frozen solid for nine weeks. As long ago as 923 the river was open to wheeled traffic for trade and the...
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