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Two hundred years ago, during the first week of February 1814, an elephant and a notice to quit from A. Thaw to J. Frost, marked the end of the extraordinary Frost Fairs that had been held regularly on the frozen River Thames.

The fairs took place on a section of the river around London Bridge and its 20 piers that slowed the river flow so much that the Thames became a frozen extension of the London streets. Fun fairs, carnivals, and food and drink stalls took to the Thames as it


froze into solid ice – solid enough for an elephant to walk across the river at Blackfriars Bridge!

The Museum of London’s centenary exhibition, which finished in March, displayed a number of quirky items from the very last fair – including Jack Frost’s notice to quit the City and a piece of gingerbread. Both can be viewed, along with other interesting information, on a commemorative film (see link left).


The volume of cargo handled at terminals on the tidal Thames in 2013 was flat with overall cargo trade marginally down by 1.2% (0.5 million tonnes) at 43.2 million tonnes. Latest Department for Transport statistics confirmed, nevertheless, that London remains the UK’s second largest port by tonnage handled. The main reason for the fall in tonnage handled, was the closure in May 2012 of Coryton oil refinery. However, the loss of the 2.4 million tonnes of crude oil that


had been handled in the first five months
of 2012, followed by no trade in 2013, was
offset by increases in the throughput of other cargoes. These were principally aggregates
for building, construction and civil engineering

“… a fantastic inward investment that will reduce cost for UK businesses and bring many new jobs and benefits…”

This is how the Right Honourable Fiona Woolf, the City of London's Lord Mayor, described London Gateway, when she visited the recently
opened site.

During her February visit, the Lord Mayor climbed one of the world's largest quay cranes for an elevated view of the three square mile site, where work is underway for a Common User Facility and other proposed distribution centres.


Left to right: London Gateway CEO Simon Moore, DP World Group CEO Mohammed Sharaf, The Lord Mayor of the City of London Fiona Woolf, and The Lord Mayor's Consort Nicholas Woolf. Image: DP World London Gateway

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