BBC News Features Museum of London Fire! Fire! Exhibition


A fire which raged in London for less
than a week but change the way we live
forever is being marked at the Museum of London. The Great Fire of london as it
became known happened
350 years ago this year and Mark Ashdown has been tracing its roots.
It started with a spark at a bakers
and became one of the most important
chapters in London’s history. The great
fire consumed nearly the entire city
this exhibition brings those fateful few
days in 1666 vividly to life.
As well as inspecting important artifacts up close
families can get hands on with what it
was like to escape from and fight the
fire.
The best thing about this exhibition is
a really unique one-off experience with
families. We put some objects on display that we’ve never had one
show before and objects that really tell
the personal stories, the stories of
everyday Londoner’s as well which really
relates to a family when they come to
visit the museum.
It’s a walking history lesson too. You
enter through Pudding Lane of course
explore why the fire spread so rapidly
thanks to the wind and closely built
wooden houses and how it was eventually
stopped in part rather ironically using
gunpowder to blow gaps in the streets.
My best thing is looking at the fire engines until they put it out.
The houses were made out of wood and it could burn down very quickly.
Amazingly only a handful of
people officially died in the fire
compare that to the 100,000 who perished in the Great Plague which ended just months before hand.
And then to have this devastating fire that makes a hundred
thousand people homeless
it’s just I don’t know how people coped
to be honest it’s incredible and
it’s one of these stories I think it
shows the resilience of Londoner’s that
despite the devastation they were able
to rebuild their city after.
There were also huge strides in fire safety and home insurance was born the great fire was a
tragedy which shaped modern life Mark Ashdown on BBC London News.

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