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Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Frost Fairs

Back in England in the deep freeze of the past few weeks, I am appropriately enough researching Frost Fairs - a sort of 17th century festival that went on when the Thames was frozen over.

The last large Frost Fair was in 1814, whilst the supports for the old London Bridge kept the river flowing slowly enough to freeze in cold weather. But in the period I am writing about, sometimes also known as the "little ice age" because of the severe winters,  there were several, where almost a mini-town grew up on the ice, with games such as chair-pushing, taverns selling hot ale, and of course skating. I believe these colourful events have featured in other people's historical novels, but I have never come across them in my reading. If you know of a novel featuring a Frost Fair, please let me know.


  1. Never run into these before, but your description of them has me hooked on the idea!

  2. Hi Nevets, I've come across one historical novel now, called (wait for it) "Frost Fair" - out of print I think, which I have ordered. I love the idea of ships being frozen solid into a kind of architecture (see the picture above)and am hoping to make use of this idea during a fictional chase across the frozen Thames. Now subscribed to your blog.