For about six hundred years, from 1250 to 1850, most parts of the world experienced colder and harsher climates than usual. The cooler temperatures were caused by a combination of less solar activity and large volcanic eruptions. Northern Europe’s Little Ice Age took place between 1430 and 1850. When the climate became colder, crops died, and there was widespread famine and disease.
Although it was not a true ice age because it did not get cold enough for long enough to cause ice sheets to grow larger, England experienced some of the coldest winters in its history during the 1820s. Its longest river, the River Thames, froze over regularly and townspeople held Frost Fairs, during which they played games and danced on its icy surface.