Frost fair on the river Thames, 19th century
Before the demolition of the old London Bridge in 1831, the Thames sometimes froze over during particularly cold winters. Spontaneous 'frost fairs' would follow, as people took to the ice for entertainment, and traders set up stalls. This lively scene from the last great frost fair of 1813-1814 shows a real fairground atmosphere, with musicians, refreshment tents and children playing. While the fairs were a delight for most Londoners and a great opportunity for stallholders, they were a disaster for the port.
- Image reference: 2197
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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