Frostiana: Or a History of the River Thames in a Frozen State was first published in 1814 to commemorate the last London frost fair. Frost fairs were great events held on the rare occasions—a handful of times per century—when the River Thames froze over for long enough to justify one. Merchants set up booths on the ice, and people bought their wares and played games.
Among the booths were printers who created souvenirs of the frost fair, such as cards bearing their patrons’ names. One such printer, George Davis, used the opportunity to create a commemorative book. He printed the title page on the frozen Thames as a publicity stunt, which earned Frostiana its reputation for having been printed on the Thames.
The book contains numerous anecdotes about winter goings-on, including a full description of the 1814 frost fair. It summarizes the scientific understanding of frost of the time, and provides advice on such projects as rescuing drowning people and making ice cream. The final chapter, on skating, provides insight into the state of figure skating in the early nineteenth century.
This edition, the first since 1814, includes the full text of the original work, illustrations, a new introduction, and explanatory notes.