During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Society's Icemen (there were several) would be on hand in London's parks during the winter in case anyone fell through the ice and needed rescuing
Ice-skating was very popular in the winter but there were many accidents when the ice gave way. Thousands of people would skate at the same time on the Serpentine in Hyde Park, central London, so the Icemen would be on duty from 7 o'clock every morning.
The figure in the left foreground wearing a coat with the words 'Humane Society' on the back is such an IceMan
Behind the Iceman, you can see a piece of equipment that looks like a ladder. This was called a 'drag'. It would have been pushed across the ice towards the unfortunate person who'd fallen in. They would grab hold of it and the Iceman would pull them back to safety.
The rules of the Society stated that Icemen were 'not to assist in putting on or taking off skates.' In this detail, you can see someone else doing that, to the left of the Iceman.
Sometimes it must have been tempting to keep warm by having a nip of brandy, but that was strictly forbidden: 'Icemen found intoxicated or accepting liquor from the public whilst on duty will be instantly dismissed', warned the Annual Report of 1890