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                                FEATURE: GREAT FIRE OF LONDON 1666
A commemorative view marking the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire
image courtesy of London Fire Brigade
World renowned fire investigator Liveryman Peter Mansi decided to research the fire and in particular, the way in which it was investigated at the time. The following is an extract from the books introduction.
  The Great Fire of 1666 was one of the most notable events within the history of the City of London. Although not involving major loss of life, it devastated the fabric of the city. The fire had a tremendous impact on churches and livery halls in particular, with many losing not only their establishments, but also precious records dating back to antiquity. There was great angst within both Royal and Government circles as to the reason for the fire and the poor response to dealing with the outbreak – the political and diplomatic drama surrounding the fire came close to initiating war and causing Government bankruptcy.
However, slowly, a new city was to arise from the smouldering embers of the fire. City and parliamentary authorities determined that such an event should never happen again.
Although it would be another 200 years before
the founding of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the first insurance companies were born in the years after the fire, and these soon developed means to take effective action against those fires that did occur. Fine new churches were built by some of the greatest architects of the time, and many livery companies dusted off the soot and picked up their activities in new premises, once again building up the City as the key economic powerhouse for the country.
Fortunately, from the historian’s perspective, the Great Fire of 1666 was one of the first events to have its progress well recorded in diaries such as those of Samuel Pepys, and within the minutes of livery companies and parish church records. The fire was also well depicted by artists living at the time. There was a comprehensive parliamentary report written on the origins and consequences of the fire and this was published the following year.
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