Haven't heard about New Year fireworks yet (for the past few years they've been at the London Eye rather than Tower Bridge), but yes, the Frost Fair is on - and this time for three days instead of one.
This is from a Southwark press release I've just received on another subject:
I don't think we'll be able to rival 1647 when John Evelyn took a coach down the frozen Thames to Lambeth. In the winter of 1962-63, the whole of the non-tidal Thames (upstream of Teddington) froze.
My understanding is that in that winter quite a few tugs in the Pool of London were frozen in at the sides of the river by the wharves, and most of the docks froze solid.
I've certainly seen various reports that in January 1963 the sea froze (out to half a mile from the shore at Herne Bay), "and ice floes appeared on the river at Tower Bridge" - carried there by the tide???
William Hill really are taking money like taking sweets from children:
One of the earliest recorded incidents of the freezing of the tidal River Thames was in AD 250 when it froze for 9 weeks. This was surpassed in the winter of 1715-16 when it froze over for 13 weeks but the record stands at 14 weeks during 1410.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, frost fairs were held in London whenever the River froze. The most significant ones were in 1683-84, 1715-16 and 1739-40 with the last one taking place in 1813-14. During the frost in the winter of 1683-84, the ice was so thick that it was strong enough to support horse-drawn carts. The removal of the old London Bridge (which had the effect of a dam) and the building of the Embankments in the 19th century (which narrowed the River), caused the flow to be increased to such an extent that it was no longer possible for the tidal Thames to freeze over.
In 1963, almost the whole of the Non-tidal Thames froze as far as Teddington an event that had not happened since 1895 when a carnival was held on the ice in Oxford at which an ox was roasted. During the frost of 1891 when the river froze over in Oxford, the ice was so thick that it was possible for a coach and four horses to drive across it.