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London fog

898 of 1160 nominations


London fog

Is this an icon?


London fog

In the 1937 film, A Damsel In Distress, Fred Astaire sang whimsically about how A Foggy Day In London Town got him down (until he bumped into heiress Joan Fontaine). But there was nothing romantic about the thick fogs that used to descend on the capital prior to the 1956 Clean Air Act, which permitted the burning of only smokeless fuels. In the 19th century, the capital's fog (which generally wasn't a weather event but pollution) came to be known as a "London particular". It seeped into many of the novels of Charles Dickens, most famously into the opening passage of Bleak House (1853).

The worst incidence in living memory was the five-day "Great Smog", which brought chaos to roads, rail and skies from 5 to 9 December 1952. Nothing was spared: the curtain had to be brought down on a performance of La Traviata at Sadler's Wells when smog seeped into the auditorium. At least 4000 people died as a direct result of these conditions, and there were reports of cattle at the Smithfield meat market asphyxiating.

The official definition of natural fog, which is caused by tiny water droplets suspended in the air, is that visibility has to be less than 1,000 metres. Severe road disruption occurs when this figure falls below 50 metres.


Your comments

Because it`s synonymous with London and the English weather in general (at least in my view as a German)

Silke Hahndorf

Love is the beacon that guides a solitary heart out of the fog of loneliness.
Lamar Cole

I understand that a clothing brand in the US has the name 'London Fog' so I guess that confirms its icon status!

View All Comments (6)



My nomination is the garden shed.