Course overview

Part of the WEA Art and About Festival 2024! A walk from Pudding Lane through the City of London to Pye Corner. This walk will chart the damage of the 1666 Great Fire of London and place it in the cultural context of the time. We will meet some key characters through whose eyes the story of the fire has been told and also those who came in to rebuild and reshape the city in its aftermath. Each participant will receive a handout to refer to along the route which includes images and quotes to illustrate the extent of this catastrophe. We will meet at The Monument (tube is monument tube or bank tube). It is the Monument to the Great Fire of London Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH. I will have a red folder with me!

Course description

In 1666 London burned!

In the early hours of Sunday 2 September at a bakery in Pudding Lane, London, a spark from the oven caught and a small fire began, what followed was catastrophic. The Great Fire of London, as this came to be known, spread rapidly and was only brought under control on Thursday 6 September. It gutted much of the medieval City within the walls, especially on the western side where it extended beyond this boundary too. Indecisions by authorities and techniques for fighting fires that could not handle such a blaze along with the very dry and warm weather added to the speed and huge amount of damaged caused. The aftermath saw vast amount of rebuilding and management of all the people displaced. The impact of the Fire was felt on a demographic, social, political, and economic front. The search for the Fires origin led to accusations and even a misplaced execution and the repercussions echoed through the end of the seventeen and into the eighteenth century.

This walk will explore the areas affected by this great fire, and history professor Anna Cusack will explain the events as you explore with new eyes this iconic stretch of London.

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