ENGLAND.. Long records of climate history

1607 / 1608

picture of book 1608 England
Picture from an excellent web site that has some informative historical articles.


“Cold doings in London, is a slender tract printed in 1608, no doubt to cash in on the novelty of the frozen river. The cover illustration, left, shows Londoners amusing themselves on the frozen river near London Bridge …

The Thames began to put on his Freeze-coate about a week before Christmas, and hath kept it on till now, this latter end of January…
Both men, women, and children walked over, and up and downe in such companies, that I verily believe, and I dare almost sweare it, that one half (if not three parts) of the people in the Citie, have been seene going on the Thames. …
The rivers shows not now (neither shows it yet) like a river, but like a field where archers shoot, while others play at football….It is an alley to walk upon without dread, albeit under it be the most assured danger. The Gentlewoman that trembles to passe over a bridge in the field, doth here walk boldly: the Citizens wife that lookes pale when she sits in a boate for fear of drowning, thinks that here shee treads as safe now as in her parlour. Of all ages, of all sexes, of all professions this is the common path: it is the roadway between London and Westminster, and between Southwark and London.”

Above: Illustration from The Great frost. Cold doings in London…Printed for H. Gosson, London, 1608. Harvard University Library.

Have a look at this link. EXCELLENT reading

“This site attempts to collect together in one place the most notable events in our ‘weather history’ across the British Isles”

so thought l would share

Here is an extract from this awesome web site

An example of the information that is recorded at this site

    The ‘Great Winter’**: apparently, trees died due to the severity (and length) of the frost; ships were stranded by ice several miles out into the North Sea –

this latter a major concern as much commerce was done in these days via coastal shipping. In December, a “deep” frost until mid-month, then a thaw until just before Christmas, then from ~21st December(OSP) intense freeze for much of the time until at least mid-January. Ice formed on the Thames in London, sufficient to bear all sorts of sports, perambulations and even cooking! The frost lasted overall for some two months. (much of the foregoing from Ian Currie). The severe weather lasted in parts of England until about 20th February(OSP), though with variations in depth of cold. For example, in records from Kendal (Westmorland / Cumbria) ‘hard frost’ is noted from November 3rd, 1607 to March 6th, 1608(OSP).
The Firth of Forth is noted as being ‘frozen’ during January 1608 & the River Exe (south of Exeter) also experienced major ice formation by the latter-third of January – at this latter location, damage was caused to a local weir.
(** lots of winters will be found in the literature known as “The Great Winter”: treat this title with some caution, however, in a series developed by C.Easton, in CHMW / Lamb, this ranks near the top of the most severe winters of the last 1000 yr.)
[ This may have been the first occasion of the use of the term ‘Frost Fair’ ]


(Winter) Severe winter; Thames frozen
(Winter) Great frost; Thames frozen.

read on..


4 comments on “ENGLAND.. Long records of climate history

  1. A fabulous blog post here

    This post takes you through a fascinating parallel walk of the life of Charles Dickens and a fascinating dialogue of the climate of the UK from his birth in 1812 to his death in 1870
    constructed ..By Historian TONY BROWN
    The climate is featured from 1812 when Charles Dickens is born and Napoloen retreats from Moscow and the harsh climate of Russia.

    Dickens was 2 yrs old
    In 1814 the River Thames Froze

    The Dalton minimum was underway and Dickens was only 4 yrs old when
    1816 was recorded in history as the ‘year without a summer’
    In September the Thames had frozen and snow drifts remained on hills until late July.

    Dickens was 10 yrs old when
    1822-23: Severe winter, ice on the Thames by late December. February 8th saw a great snowstorm in Northern England. People had to tunnel through the snow

    Not all years in the Dalton minimum were anomalously cold
    Dickens was 14 yrs old
    1826: Another warm year at 10.07C mean average

    Dickens was engaged in 1835.. Age 23 yrs
    25th December 1836, roads impassable, snow depths reached a staggering 5-15 feet in many places, and most astonishingly, drifts of 20-50 feet!

    There is some weather reported nearly every year of his life
    I won’t spoil this excellent compilation
    Read on .


    I think this should be noted
    “In 1814 the River Thames froze over and the last ever frost fair was held. This was partly through changing weather conditions, but also because the nature of the river was altered when the old London Bridge was demolished and river flow increased”

  2. The long term temperature time series of central England.This graph is from 1780 – 2013

    CET timeseries

    There has currently been quite a steep drop in the mean CET temperature since 2006. According to the following time series graph this is currently not unprecedented.
    There have been 3 previous significant downturns in the record since this series commenced in 1780

    They were approximately
    1779 – 1782 = 3 yr downturn
    1831 – 1840 = 9 yr downturn
    1862 – 1884 = 22 yr downturn

    The current downturn is

    2006 – 2013…? = 7yrs so far

    Cycle researchers are expecting another Dalton (1790-1830)/Maunder(1645-1715) type minimum currently
    It is quite possible that we are already entering this epoch.

    Interesting to note that the 9 yr downturn of 1831- 1840 fell within the period termed the Dalton Minimum.
    The 22 yr downturn from 1862 – 184 was a longer decline in temperature

    The point is..
    The current 21st C downturn is not exceptional considering the 1862-1884 downturn of 22 yrs

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