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Editor, IFSEC Global

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Adam Bannister was Editor of IFSEC Global from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam is also a former Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
August 4, 2016

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The Great Fire of London: A Programme of Events to Mark the 350th Anniversary

A series of events are taking place around London to mark the 350th anniversary of the fire that destroyed huge swathes of the city.

Highlights include a well-received exhibition at the Museum of London, walking tours at St Pauls Cathedral and Pudding Lane Рwhere the Great Fire of London broke out in a baker’s shop on 2 September 1666 Рand numerous art exhibitions and lectures reflecting on the fire and its aftermath.

Find out about the events below, which promise fascinating insights into London’s great lost and preserved buildings, how the blaze made St Paul’s’ stones ‚Äúexplode like grenades‚ÄĚ and the radical architectural designs which envisaged a brave new era amid the ruins of a smouldering city.

fire fire museum of london


Editor’s picks

Visscher Redrawn: 1616-2016

What?¬†¬†Depicting a low-rise cityscape punctuated¬†by¬†spires and steeples Claes Jansz Visscher’s 1616 engraving is one of medieval London’s most iconic images. To mark the Great Fire’s anniversary¬†artist Robin Reynolds has recreated the 6.6ft panorama to depict the skyline¬†of today’s London. Visscher’s engraving is one of few remaining visual records of pre-fire London. To commemorate the landmark anniversaries of the Great Fire¬†and Shakespeare’s death (400 years ago), the two artworks will be displayed side-by-side at¬†Guildhall Art Gallery.

When? Until 20 November 2016

Where? Guildhall Art Gallery

Cost? Free entry

Fire! Fire! Exhibition

What? An exhibition with artefacts from London before, during and after the Great Fire of 1666. Visitors can revisiting 17th century Pudding Lane to see what life was like for ordinary Londoners, walk into the bakery where the fire began and find out how the flames spread across the city. Play the role of an archaeologist and identify real objects melted by the flames. Hear the personal stories of citizens affected by the disaster. Try your hand at rebuilding the London that rose again from the ashes. The Museum of London will host a programme of fire themed walks and tours, free afternoon lectures, workshops, family activities, children’s sleepovers and festival days.

When? Open until 17 April 2017

Where? Museum of London

Cost? Advanced tickets from £4 child, £8 adult

The Great Fire: Reconsidered

What? 

‘The Great Fire: Reconsidered’¬†is a conference that will revsit¬†the events leading up to the Great Fire of London and its aftermath. Speakers include:¬†Michael Hebbert (UCL), Hazel Forsyth (Museum of London), Una McIlvenna (University of Kent), Elaine Tierney (V&A), Jewell Johnson (University of Sydney), Lara Thorpe (Royal Holloway, University of London), Alan Marshall (Bath Spa University), Marit Leenstra (MOLA) and¬†Mark Kirby (University of York). The day will conclude with Dr Clare Jackson (Trinity Hall, Cambridge) offering ‘final thoughts’ on the research presented throughout the day, before a wine reception.

When? Saturday 3 September, 9am-4.15pm

Where? Wren Suite, St Paul’s Cathedral

Cost: £24.49-£29.79

Find out more.

London 1666

What? A sculpture representing the 17th-century London skyline will be floated on the river Thames and set alight in a dramatic recreation of the Great Fire. Londoners not in education, employment or training will help recreate a vast, 120-metre-long wooden sculpture of restoration London. Designed by American artist David Best, this representation of the 17th-century London skyline will engage the work of children and young people across five boroughs around the City of Londont. Young unemployed Londoners taking part in this inspirational project will gain a CSCS certificate and further employment qualifications. Search for #greatfire350 on Facebook and Twitter to follow the build process.

When? Sunday 4 September

Where? To be confirmed closer to the event

Cost? Free

Find out more.

Great Fire 350th Anniversary Bell Peal

What?¬†Hear the College of Youths ring a special 1666 bell peal from the north west tower of St Paul’s to commemorate the 350th anniversary.

When? Saturday 3 September, 12pm-4pm

Where? St Paul’s Cathedral

Cost? Free


Walks and Talks

Fire Tours at St Paul’s

What? Join a Fire Tour with a cathedral guide to see fascinating artefacts¬†from the pre-fire cathedral and hear the dramatic story of the Great Fire of London.¬†No need to book – reserve a space at guiding desk. Or join a Triforium Tour to see carved architectural stones from Old St Paul’s and Christopher Wren’s Great Model (booking necessary)¬†Or take a Family Trail, which involves interactive activities for children (no need to book).

When?  Fire Tours last an hour from 12.30pm Monday to Friday or 2pm Saturday. Find out about Triforium Tour times here.

Where? St Paul’s Cathedral

Find out more.

Monument Talks

What? Free talks detailing the science, history and legacy of The Monument, which was built as a memorial to the Great Fire between 1671 and 1677.

When? Until 2 September on Wednesdays and Thursdays, as well as daily from 29 August-2 September, between 12:00-14:00. Stories will be told every 30 minutes on the half hour.

Where? The Monument, Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH

Find out more.

the monument london

The Fire Trail

What? Starting at The Monument and moving to other landmark locations relating to the Great Fire Рcollect all the clues and complete the anagram to find the missing treasure and receive your prize. The full version includes 23 clues and will take approximately one and a half hours to complete. Alternatively, there is a shortened version of eight clues taking approximately 30 minutes Рperfect for families. Entries must be submitted before the closing date of 5th September; after which the winner will be revealed in a random draw. Join us on a treasure hunt around the City!

When? Until 5 September

Where? The Monument, Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH

Family activities at The Monument

What? Enjoy free craft activities led by The Monument’s learning team as well as meeting key characters from the history of the Great Fire.¬†Activities are open to children of all ages but are particularly appropriate for those aged¬†6-10¬†years old.

When? 6 and 7 August, from 10:30 to 16:00. There is no need to book.

Where? The Monument, Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH

Find out more.

Liveable London: Wellbeing, Resilience and City Life

What?¬†A panel debate¬†exploring how¬†London has¬†historically responded to economic and political challenges and how relevant past resilience and adaptability is to surmounting¬†today’s¬†challenges. Organised by the¬†St Paul‚Äôs Institute the event will feature the following speakers:¬†Catherine Colebrook,¬†chief economist and associate director for Economic Policy, IPPR;¬†Sandy Nairne,¬†curator and writer, former director of the National Portrait Gallery; and¬†Nick Spencer,¬†director of research, Theos.¬†St Paul’s Institute director¬†Barbara Ridpath will chair the debate.

When? Tuesday 13 September, 6pm

Where? St Paul’s Cathedral

Cost? Free

Find out more.

Great Fire Lecture

What?¬†Adrian Tinniswood,¬†respected historian and author of ‘By Permission of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London’, will present a his thoughts on the Great Fire and its legacy.

When? Friday 2 September,  2pm and 3.30pm

Where? St Paul’s Cathedral

Cost? Booking details to be announced.

Find out more.

Out of the Ashes: Sunday Sermon Series

What?¬†Sermons¬†on how other cities have recovered after their own, more recent catastrophes. On¬†Sunday 4 September at 11am The Rt. Revd and Rt. Hon Richard Chartres KCVO ¬†will lead a service¬†recreating the 1666 setting with 17th century instruments and anthems. On Sunday 11 September at 11.30am – the 15th anniversary of 9/11 – New York chaplain Revd Philippa ‘Pippa’ Turner¬†– revisits the¬†terror attacks on the World Trade Center.¬†Revd John Wood MBE, vicar of St Ann’s, Tottenham, will deliver a sermon on¬†Sunday 18 September at 3.15pm. And¬†Revd Nadim Nasser will speak on¬†Sunday 25 September 10.15am about the Syrian conflict.

When? 4-25 September

Where? St Paul’s Cathedral

Find out more.


Art and museums

Out of the Fire exhibition

What?¬†A display on St Paul‚Äôs before, during and after the Great Fire.¬†Discover evocative objects and experience the award-winning high-definition Resurgam film. Opening 1 September, running to April 2017. Included with cathedral admission.¬†Delve deeper into how the Great Fire of 1666 changed St Paul‚Äôs and the City of London –¬† combine your visit to the Museum of London‚Äôs major new interactive exhibition Fire! Fire! with entry to the cathedral. Fire! Fire! explores evidence about the inferno, presenting rare 17th century artefacts alongside stunning projections and hands-on exhibits.

When? From 1 September to April 2017.

Where? St Paul’s Cathedral

Cost? Included with cathedral admission, the prices and advance tickets for which you can find here.

Find out more.

Dr Johnson’s House and the Two Great Fires of London: 1666 and 1940

What? The former home of Dr Johnson has a long and unique association with the fire services. Built in 1698 as part of local reconstruction after the Great Fire, it was saved from the Blitz 240 years later thanks to the Auxiliary Fire Services who held meetings at the building. Archival material will be displayed in the Garret that still bears scars from the less well known fire of 1940. Dr Johnson’s House is a Grade 1 listed historic townhouse in the City of London.

When? Friday 1 July onwards

Where? Dr Johnson’s House,¬†7 Gough Square, London EC4A 3DE

Cost? Ticket prices listed here.

Find out more.

City of London Heritage Gallery Great Fire display

What? Plucked from the archives the diary of Robert Hooke, chief surveyor to the city after the fire, is on display for the first time ever, alongside documents conveying how the City Corporation set about clearing up and rebuilding the city.

When? 6 August-8 December 2016

Where? Heritage Gallery, Guildhall Art Gallery

Cost? General admission is free

That Dreadful Fire: The Hand of God, a Great Wind and a Very Dry Season

What?¬†This exhibition explores the story of a devastating event using the Guildhall Library’s collections, including English and foreign accounts, sermons and public records.

When? 15 August‚Äď30 November

Where? Guildhall Library

Cost? Free

 

 

 

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