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The way we were: extreme weather

Extracts from memoirs and diaries

By Ian Irvine   March 2020

Frost Fair on the River Thames near the Temple Stairs. Thomas Wyke. Credit: Wikimedia Commons


John Aubrey in London writes in his diary about the Great Frost:

“I went across the Thames on the ice, now become so thick as to bear streets of booths. In the streets, sleds, sliding with skates, a bullbaiting, 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, while it was a severe judgment on the land, the trees not only splitting as if the lightning struck but men and cattle perishing. The fowls, fish and birds…

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