Frost Fairs

On the few occasions when the Thames River froze, a Frost Fair would be set up for a short period on the ice. The first recorded fair was in 1608 and the last was 1814. John Evelyn mentioned cooks and other activities at the Frost Fair of 1684. As seen in the right corner of the picture, whole animals such as beef or sheep were roasted over a fire on the frozen river. A book printed and sold on the ice was "Frostiana: or a history of the river Thames in a frozen state... London, printed and published on the ice on the river Thames, February 5, 1814". The above illustration is by George Cruikshank in the 1838 edition of "Comic Almanac".

A Wonderful Fair or a Fair of Wonders. A new and true illustration of and Description of the Several things Acted and Done on the River of Thames, in the time of the terrible frost, December 1684
An Exact and lively Mapp or Representation of Booths and all the varieties of shows and humours upon the Ice on the River Thames 1684
A Frost Fair on the Thames at Temple Stairs by Abraham Hondius, 1684
Frost Fair 1740
Frost Fair 1740
Frost Fair 1813-14
An Exact Representation of the Ice at London Bridge on the 5th Feb 1814
The Illustrated London News. The Frost Fair of 1814 on the River Thames in London, by Luke Clenell
Frost Fair history
Fair activities

Past Pictures of the Month

©2006 Patricia Bixler Reber