350 years ago, an event occurred which changed the face of London forever. This was the Great Fire of London, and it is the subject of a new exhibition at the Museum of London not too far from centrally located Regency House Hotel.
Everywhere you go in the city of London there are echoes of that massive disaster. It all began one night in Pudding Lane, near London Bridge. It is believed that a spark from a baker’s oven developed into a blaze that burnt the house down. All but one servant managed to escape the blaze and alert neighbours. The cry of ‘Fire’ was quickly heard and everyone in the area came to help. A chain of people passed buckets of water to douse the flames, and others pulled down neighbouring buildings in a bid to prevent the flames spreading. These attempts were in vain. The fire spread rapidly within a city of wooden buildings and thatched roofs.
Over the next three days over 13,000 homes were destroyed by fire; together with 87 churches and St Paul’s Cathedral. Charles II, King of England along with his brother James, the Duke of York led the fire fighters dealing with the blaze, helping fill buckets, pull down houses and directing efforts.
Architect Sir Christopher Wren was given the task of overseeing the rebuilding of the city of London. It was ordered that no buildings should be built of thatch and wood. Only stone and brick should be used. He was personally responsible for the design and build of large numbers of city churches – which have become known as the Wren churches. His best known church is St Paul’s Cathedral which was transformed from a former Gothic style building to a magnificent domed, baroque church that is one of the largest in the world, dwarfed only by St Peter’s in Rome.
Following in the steps of the Great Fire of London, visitors staying in hotels near Soho can explore the Museum’s exhibition which shows how the fire spread so fast. You can try to be a detective, and work out the identity of some of the items found by archeologists, as they were melted in the heat of the fire!
Stroll down to London Bridge and make your way to the Monument, close to Monument Tube Station. Visitors can climb to the top of the Monument which commemorates the Great Fire of London.
Explore some of the city’s churches and see how similar they look given the unified style in which they were built. Above all, take a stroll around St Paul’s Cathedral and see the glory that is Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. This is the building that several centuries later became the focus of attention in yet another disaster – the Blitz. Iconic pictures of the dome surrounded by smoke and burning buildings swept the world and have remained a constant image of what Londoners faced during those days when fire bombing again caused much of London to burn.
So, if you’re in London on holiday then take a look at our bed and breakfast in gower street for the best access to the popular tourist attractions of London.