The Dreadful Judgement by Neil Hanson
This is a detailed and in parts graphic, telling of the backdrop and story of the Great Fire of London, a must for anyone interested in a more in-depth insight into this piece of history. It is helpfully written in the style of a novel to make it easier to follow.
The title of this book makes me wonder whether perhaps people think it was some sort of supernatural punishment, an act of God…..who knows!
Did you know:
- The great fire started in a bakery shop (no, not Greggs).
- The great fire took place in the year 1666
- The most well known building to be destroyed by the fire was St Paul’s Cathedral.
- The great fire is meant to have burned hardest for five days straight.
- Thatched roofs were banned after the great fire, for obvious reasons (but at least we still have the lovely Cotswolds).
- The main method of fighting the fire was to demolish buildings in order to stop it spreading (no luxury of wonderful firemen with automatic hoses). Source To make matters worse, it had been a very dry hot summer with limited water supplies, talk about unfortunate timing. Well I suppose there’s never a good time for an entire city to catch fire!
- The change in wind direction also helped to control the fire, eventually. Source
- The world’s very first insurance company came about after the great fire. Well if this wasn’t a good time to start I don’t know what time would’ve been, crikey!
- Over 100,000 people were left homeless as a result of the fire. Source
- A French watchmaker falsely confessed to starting the fire and was executed for it (the death penalty, torture etc was all the norm back then) but the man was later found to be innocent.
History buffs and the ‘generally curious’ will enjoy this book.