Shiver our timbers. London’s had lots of cold weather so far this winter, but precious little snow. (Perhaps not entirely a bad thing, given the toxic fume cloud currently presiding over us.) Whatever the weather, there’ll be plenty of the white, wet stuff on offer at Bankside this Friday through Sunday, as the third annual Frost Fair gets underway.
Frost Fairs are one of London’s oldest traditions. Back in Tudor and Stuart times, the whole damn river would regularly freeze over. The rapid increase in central real estate would be used for all manner of activities, from football matches to sledge races. The fun stopped in the 19th Century, however, when rising temperatures, the demolition of Old London Bridge and the great embankment projects made a solid river less likely.
It’s almost 200 years since the Frost Fairs were, um, put on ice. But Southwark Council have decided to resurrect them. Although it’s not cold enough to allow the Thames to freeze (at least not yet), the snow is being brought to the riverbank:
The main feature will be an impressive real ice slide, running 50 metres, a first for London! This will be accompanied by a lantern procession to open the event and Olympic ski simulation which together with marquees, street entertainment, ice sculpting and an ice bar, will all be lit up by the enchanting Frost Fair lights.
Sounds even better than the real thing. Speaking of which, the odds that the Thames will freeze over between Westminster and Tower are only 50/1.