The Frozen Thames 1895

In early 1895 the country as a whole was hit by a freezing cold spell that caused chaos and distress. In London, as The London Evening Standard reported on Thursday, 31st January 1895, the River Thames even froze over:-


The Thames in the London district yesterday presented a remarkable appearance, as a result of the snow and frost combined.

During the last few days much of the snow cleared from the streets has been deposited in the river by the Vestries, but the frost has prevented it from melting, and yesterday the water was full of floating masses of frozen snow.


The foreshore presented a singular scene at low tide, masses of snow of all sizes and shapes being left stranded, while the snow had frozen round the supports of the piers and bridges, giving quite an Arctic appearance to the river’s surroundings.

Yesterday several barges and boats were to be seen frozen in at the rear of Old Swan Pier, where the tide runs slack, and a quantity of snow has become bound together.

An illustration showing the river frozen by London Bidge.
The Frozen Thames By London Bridge Looking East. From The Illustrated London News, Saturday, 23rd February, 1895. Copyright Mary Evans Picture Library.


The seagulls have put in an appearance in increased numbers since the severe weather set in, and yesterday hundreds were to be seen flying over the river, and perching on the floating blocks of snow between “The Pool” and Battersea Park.

They appeared ravenous for food, and, at Blackfriars Bridge, speedily seized the pieces of bread, &c, which passers by amused themselves by throwing into the water.

A couple of dead gulls were seen in the Thames at London Bridge, and they are supposed to have died from starvation.


On Thursday, 7th February 1895, the paper reported how the snow and cold were impacting on the country as a whole:-

Intensely cold weather prevailed over England yesterday, and during the early morning the frost was very severe in many parts of the kingdom.

In the Midland Counties the thermometer in the screen fell twenty-four degrees below the freezing point, and in the south-east of England the frost was sharper than at any time this Winter.

Large quantities of snow have fallen again in the north, and further falls were in progress yesterday in different parts of the kingdom.

A strong easterly gale blew on the Scotch coasts, and a strong easterly wind was experienced on the east coast of England.


In the suburbs of London there were seventeen degrees of frost in the screen during Tuesday night, and on the snow the thermometer registered twenty-three degrees of frost.

The barometer was changing very irregularly last evening, and the type of weather was becoming complex; there are no indications of much abatement in the cold.


In the north of England and in Scotland the severe snowstorm of the last two days has blocked railways and roads, stopped communication with the villages, and practically put an end to outdoor work. Consequently, great distress prevails in many places.

Several fatalities are reported to have occurred in the snow, and also on the coast.