I can’t believe Second Decade is already on its third episode! “The Last Frost Fair” went up late Sunday night (Pacific time), but hit iTunes and the other platforms on Monday morning. It’s already been downloaded nearly 100 times, which is not bad for a podcast that’s still just starting out.
Second Decade is on iTunes, here; it’s on TuneIn, here; you can access it directly on the Libsyn page for it, here; or, perhaps the easiest way, click this link for an embedded player that will open in your browser.
Episode 3: The Last Frost Fair is the first entry of Second Decade that ventures into environmental history, my academic specialty. As a result of global cooling caused by a volcanic eruption, winters in the early 1810s were especially severe in the Northern Hemisphere. Just after Christmas 1813, a brutal cold snap struck Britain and Ireland, turning cities into apocalyptic wastelands filled with frozen streets, icy fog and six feet of snow in two separate snowstorms. Six weeks of very cold temperatures drove Londoners almost to the breaking point, economically and psychologically. Then, as the Thames froze solid, a strange winter festival began to take shape on the ice of the frozen river. This “Frost Fair” had a tradition stretching back to Elizabethan times, but these carnivals of food, fun, booze and a little danger were so rare as to occur only a few times a century. Unfortunately one will never happen again. In this episode, I talk both about the environmental disaster that befell Britain in 1813-14, and put the Frost Fair in historical context. This is a really fun episode and, I think, one of the most interesting stories from the Second Decade.
I wrote a blog about the 1814 Frost Fair more than two years ago, here, but the podcast goes into much more depth.
I’m very pleased with how Second Decade is taking off so far. If the reaction on Twitter is any gauge, people in the online history community are really enjoying it! One by one Second Decade is conquering the major podcast outlets–it’s not up on Google Play yet, though I expect it will be soon. And views keep growing. Thanks to all who listen and share.