Monday, June 13, 2016

Events for the 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London

In addition to the events at St Paul's Cathedral, the City of London will recognize the anniversary in a variety of ways.

There will be a children's book about the Fire,  entitled The Great Fire of London: 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of 1666, by Emma Adams, James Wesston Lewis, and Fiz Osborne, available from, here.

Also, a commemorative coin, presumably available for two pounds in the UK.

In addition, the City of London Museum will open an interactive exhibit on July 23rd, up through April 17th, 2017, called Fire! Fire! which will include artifacts like the 17th century leather fireman's helmet shown above. 

London's Guildhall will also open an exhibit on July 23rd, called The Dreadful Fire,
which promises in addition to the usual sorts of exhibits, to include a hands-on feature, so you can touch what remains of early modern London.

The Heritage Gallery will open a show on August 6th, 2016, up through December 8th, 2016 a show featuring the Hooke Diary and other archives relating to the Great Fire. 

There will also be a city-wide festival called Great Fire 350, running from August 30th through September 4th, 2016. For a guide to the events of this festival, go here.

So, much to see and do in London in this year both of the anniversary of Shakespeare's death AND of the Great Fire. 

The Stones and Monuments of Pre-Fire St Paul's

We are recreating pre-Fire St Paul's in bits and bytes. Good to be reminded that the cathedral survives in the hard reality of rock fragments excavated from the grounds of the cathedral from time to time over the years.

The "Gentle Author" of the Spitalfields Life blog published a nice story about these remains, with lots of pictures, earlier this spring, go here.

The stones gathered above, on display in the Triforium of today's St Paul's, were collected by Francis Penrose, the 19th-century archaeologist, who is important for us because he excavated and surveyed the foundations of Paul's Cross.

 (Effegy of William Cokain, Lord Mayor of London, died 1626) 

Our Gentle Author gives us, in addition to his photographs of the stones of pre-Fire St Paul's, images of funeral monument effigies that still bear the soot of the Great Fire. 

This collection of stones from the pre-Fire cathedral has contributed a great deal to our model. For example, stones that have been traced to the framework to the cathedral's Great East Window have helped John Schofield and his colleagues work out the design of that window. 

I personally am hopeful that at least some of this material will be on display at St Paul's in its Great Fire exhibition opening later this year. 

Time, as always, will tell!

Virtual Paul's Cross and the Great Fire Anniversary

St Paul's Cathedral has organized a series of events in observance of the 350th anniversary 0f the Great Fire of London. 

This series of events started this past May, and runs through April of 2017. 

The full list of events is here:

If you look carefully at the cathedral's page, you will see the image above, familiar to us as one of the Virtual Paul's Cross website images,  constructed by Joshua Stephens and rendered by Jordan Gray.

Events of special interest on the cathedral's calendar of Great Fire Anniversary events are the following: 

From August 2016
The Out of the Fire exhibition: A display on St Paul’s before, during and after the Great Fire. Discover evocative objects and experience the award-winning high-definition Resurgam film.
From September 2016
Great Fire 350th Anniversary Bell Peal: 12 noon to 4pm  Saturday 3 September The College of Youths ring a special 1666 peal.
St Paul’s Late – Visit the Cathedral floor and Crypt on two special atmospheric evenings Friday 2 and Saturday 3 September (Times and cost tbc). 
Out of the Ashes - London The Rt. Revd and Rt. Hon Richard Chartres KCVO - Sunday 4 September 11am
The service recreates the 1666 setting with 17th century instruments and anthems. Bishop Richard, the 132nd Bishop of London, is founder and life president of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, created after the church was totally destroyed by an IRA bomb in Bishopsgate, London in 1993. He is a member of the House of Lords and Dean of the Chapels Royal.
All worth checking out if you are in London!