I’m very interested in the history of places I visit and the Great Fire of 1666 was a major turning point in the story of London. I toured the Museum of London’s Fire! Fire! exhibition which commemorates the 350th anniversary of this catastrophic event. Later I visited a notable victim of the inferno and Sir Christopher Wren’s greatest achievement, St. Paul’s Cathedral.
|Fire! Fire! Exhibit at the Museum of London|
|The Lord Mayor's Coach|
|Victorian Penny-Farthing Bicycle|
|The Beatles in the World City Gallery|
The Fire! Fire! exhibition explores the devastating inferno that broke out in a bakery on Pudding Lane and destroyed a quarter of the medieval city of London. The displays include a depiction of the daily spread of flames across the city, a seventeenth century fire engine, and a leather water bucket. The exhibition continues until April 17, 2017.
|Day 3 of the Great Fire of London|
|Fire Engine (1678)|
|Leather Water Bucket|
After the fire Christopher Wren was commissioned to rebuild St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Latin inscription on his gravestone in the cathedral translates as: ‘If you seek his memorial, look about you.’ This great church survived the Blitz and went on to host Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral; Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding; and Queen Elizabeth’s ninetieth birthday celebration. We arrived too late for a tour of the cathedral but the five o’clock evensong service was the perfect way to experience this historic building.
|St. Paul's Cathedral|
|Statue of Queen Anne|
|The Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral|
Photography isn’t allowed in St. Paul’s but we got a unique view of Wren’s dome (which was modelled after the Pantheon in Rome) from the roof terrace of One New Change Mall.
|One New Change Mall Elevator|
|View from the Elevator|
|View of St. Paul's Cathedral from One New Change Mall Terrace|
One of the few buildings to survive the Great Fire is Prince Henry’s Room at 17 Fleet Street.
|Prince Henry's Room, 17 Fleet Street|
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in a narrow alleyway off Fleet Street wasn’t so lucky but it was rebuilt. The pub lays claim to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens among its regular patrons.
|Fleet Street and View of St. Paul's|
|Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub Entrance|
Ye Olde Cock Tavern has the narrowest frontage of all London pubs. This public house was also frequented by Charles Dickens as well as diarist Samuel Pepys.
|Ye Olde Cock Tavern, 22 Fleet Street|
In the midst of all these historic pubs we had dinner at The Old Bank of England, a beautifully renovated bank building on the site between Sweeney Todd’s notorious barber shop and Mrs. Lovett’s pie shop. I had fish and chips (not a meat pie) and a free drink on the house.
|The Old Bank of England Pub, 194 Fleet Street|
In my next post we’ll return to modern times and go shopping at some of London’s world-class stores plus visit an exhibition on one of my favourite bands, The Rolling Stones.
My Tip for the Day:
Attending services like evensong allows you to enter churches after regular tour hours – and admission is free.
Next: World-Class London