London’s Trafalgar Square was the place to be on New Year’s Eve, but that appears to be a thing of the past. For many years, people would jump in the fountains, probably not to be recommended on a cold December night, but it was the sort of thing students especially are inclined to do.
As revellers saw in the New Year on January 1, 1983, two women were killed in a crush of around a couple of dozen people who fell over at the south side of the Square. This was raised in Parliament, but this year the crowds in the Square itself were sparse. The fountains that were initially boarded up to prevent people jumping in have now been sealed off by barriers, and these barriers seem to grow every year. This year was the pits, there was no music in the Square, no giant screen with fireworks or anything. The fireworks were some distance away, an all-ticket event on the banks of the Thames. The top of the display was visible over the buildings from midnight, but that was the only positive feature. That and the fact that it wasn’t that cold – we can probably thank global warming for that, although people in the North of England won’t be quite so thankful.
The other positive feature is that the trains and buses home were free. There was a heavy police presence, and at Embankment Station some were armed, including with automatic weapons. Thankfully the terrorist threat didn’t materialise.
December 31 this year – the big question is, will anybody bother to turn up?