An unassuming street in the City of London, except for its grim association. This small street was the start of the Great Fire of London in 1666, at Thomas Farriner’s bakery shop, where it is assumed the bakery fire was not properly covered and flying embers set fire to the house. The fire spread rapidly in the crowded city, gutting the city inside the Roman walls, making tens of thousands homeless and properties destroyed. Although the official death number was only six, it is now believed that several thousands died in connection with the fire.
You would think that a large fire like this would create a desire for safer houses and a re-think of the layout of the city, but this did not happen. There were several suggestions for creating a Paris with wide boulevards and Baroque buildings, but the ownership of the many properties that needed repair or re-building were so complex that none of the large plans came into fruition. The streets remained and buildings rebuilt more or less where they were, the only notable two new streets were King Street and Queen Street, creating a new route from the Thames to Guildhall.
One magnificent building though, came out of the fire, St Paul’s Cathedral, created by architect Sir Christopher Wren who had also been in charge of re-building many other churches in the area that had been destroyed by the fire. St Paul’s Cathedral could be said to be his final masterpiece.
In memory of the fire, The Monument was erected also designed by Sir Christopher Wren, 61 metres tall, now also the name of the nearby underground station. The base holds a commemorative tale of the Great Fire.
The extra bits: Samuel Pepys diaries for a intriguing view into London life in the 17th century, including his accounts of the Great Fire.
You can read about this amazing art installation that graced the streets of London a couple of years ago. This particular book bench was dedicated to Samuel Pepys.
Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite P street in London or in your own hometown/favourite city.
Want to read more? You can find previous days’ post here
Want to read other blogs who take part in this challenge? Find out more here