Monday, December 7


Eitan and I once discussed the Great Fire's year - I being fairly certain it was 1666 since the '6s' look like smoke rising from houses on fire.  Pretty horrible mnemonic but it works. The Great Fire, pictured, started at a bakery in Pudding Lane (now the site of the Monument) and destroyed most of the City of London over three days. Some argue that the Great Fire did London a service - it enabled the city to become modern (incidentally, it put to an end the ineffective attempts to patch up the Old St Paul's cathedral, allowing the beauty we own today).  The few surviving houses - and so the oldest in London - located in EC1 next to the Chancery Lane tube near Holburn viaduct.  The edifices old-wood, white washed and cross-sectioned by darkened plank.  I once passed them each day on my way to New Fetter Lane without the slightest idea of the history about me (but interested in the occupying jewelry shop which sold cuff-links). 

"So down [I went], with my heart full of trouble, to the Lieutenant of the Tower, who tells me that it began this morning in the King's baker's house in Pudding Lane, and that it hath burned St. Magnus's Church and most of the Fish Street already.  So I rode down to the waterside, ... and there saw a lametable fire.... Everybody endeavouring to remove their goods, and flinging in the river or bringing them to lighters that lay off, poor people staying in their houses as long as till the very first touched them, and then running into boats, or clambering from one pair of stairs by the waterside to another. 
--Samuel Pepys (from his diaries)