Frost Fairs

1683 Frost Fair

If you’re looking for proof of climate change, consider that Londoners used to hold festivals on the frozen Thames that could go on for weeks. Of the 1683-84 “frost fair,” pictured above, diarist John Evelyn wrote:

Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, and from several other stairs too and fro, as in the streets, sleds, sliding with skates, bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cooks, tippling and other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on the water.

Between 1400 and 1814 there are 23 documented cases of the Thames freezing over. The last fair lasted only four days, though; the climate was changing, and the river ran more swiftly as it was embanked during the 19th century.