Thursday, February 7, 2013
Today is...the Birth Anniversary of Charles Dickens
Today is the birth anniversary of Charles Dickens. What is your favorite Dickens work?
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.
There have only been 4 years when snow was on the ground in London on Christmas in the 20th century, 1927, 1938, 1970, and 1981. However, everyone always thinks of London at Christmas to be snowy. Why is that?
As it happens, it is due to Charles Dickens. The first 8 years of his life, there was a White Christmas every year. As a result, in his books, he describes Christmases as snowy, even though it usually was not snowy at that time in London.
Between 1550 and 1850, Britain was in the grip of a "Little Ice Age", which included cold enough temperatures to freeze the River Thames. When the Thames froze, the people of London would have frost fairs on the frozen river. The last frost fair was held in the winter of 1813/1814.
The frost fairs included ice skating, food stands, bon fires, puppet plays, etc. (everything you would see at a fair) all on the ice. Yes, even the bon fires were on the ice.
While Dickens would not have remembered frost fairs, the Little Ice Age was still in effect enough to cause snow at Christmas.