Welcome to The Ephemera Society Website - Articles
News   About Us   Membership   Events   Links


Image of leaflet for pig roasting on the Thames 1838

Pig Roasting

  • Leaflet for Pig Roasting on The River Thames at Hammersmith
  • Printed by E. Page, 9 Angel Terrace, Hammersmith
  • February 1838

A Christmas of unusually mild temperature has been succeeded by a winter of extraordinary severity. The frost first commenced on Sunday the 7th of January and continued without intermission until Monday the 22nd. The lowest degree of temperature was on Saturday the 20th, when the external (self-registering) thermometer of the Royal Society at one time stood at 11.5 [degrees] of Fahrenheit.

The Thames was for two days frozen over at Hammersmith bridge and also among the shipping in the Pool; and had not the removal of old London Bridge so greatly increased the force of the tides, it would have probably have been entirely covered with ice in the line of its course through the metropolis, as in the year 1814.

After the thermometer had risen to above 43 on the 23rd of Jan, the frost returned on the following day, and the Thames continued frozen over from the island at Chiswick upwards, though broken up and shifting with the tide from that spot.
The commerce of the port of London was entirely suspended, no vessels being able to move higher than Blackwall, and thence with considerable difficulty.

Detail from George Cruikshank's illustration for The Comic Almanack of 1838
  • Frost Fair on the Thames - Pig roasting on a spit
  • Detail from George Cruikshank's illustration
  • The Comic Almanack 1838

This state of things continued until Thursday the 8th of Feb. when after some days of a more modified temperature, and by the aid of spring tides, the stream became again clear. The frost had returned, however, but with slighter severity, on the 1st Feb. and it lasted until Saturday the 17th Feb. during which time the waters in the Parks, &c. continued hard frozen, and greatly thronged by the more active and disengaged portions of the community.  .... From the Gentleman's Magazine March 1838

Quadrille Ephemera



This regular feature shows special items from members’ own collections. Submissions by email should include a scan of the item.