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Winter Fun

6 Dec 19

As the festive season approaches, our archaeologists have been dreaming of a White(chapel) Christmas - just like the ones Londoners used to know!


Winter Fun
Archaeology South-East/ UCL 2019

Wintry conditions would have been much more severe in London in the past than in modern times. Between the early 17th and early 19th centuries was the period known as the Little Ice Age; the Thames frequently froze over and ‘Frost Fairs’ were held on the river’s icy surface. Sledge runners from Whitechapel Central would have helped people get around!

These would have been fastened to the underside of a wooden board to act as runners on a rudimentary sledge, one found at Whitechapel Central dated to the early 19th century based on associated finds.

If being indoors is more your thing, we have some lovely gaming pieces from Whitechapel Central. Whether you love or loathe a board game at Christmas, you can surely appreciate this beautiful late post-medieval bone domino piece. The drilled holes could have been filled with paint or paste, although no traces remain of this now.  The game of dominoes is thought to have been invented in China, eventually making its way to Europe in the 18th century.

However, don’t get carried away with your gaming like this poor chap on the plate, who is being thrown out of an establishment advertising GIN and BILLIARDS having gambled his money away. This plate is the third in a plate series on The Effects of the Bottle, warning of the consequences of over-drinking – something you may also appreciate if you like a Christmas tipple!

We hope everyone enjoys the festive season – we’ll be back in January with more exciting finds from Whitechapel Central! You can follow regular updates about the site using the hashtag #SceneSettingE1 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.