5 Sep 2016

London 'burns' on Great Fire anniversary

10:43 am on 5 September 2016

A giant wooden replica of 17th-century London has been set ablaze on the Thames River in a spectacular re-enactment of the Great Fire of London 350 years ago.

A replica of 17th-century London on a barge floating on the river Thames is set ablaze in an event to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.

A replica of 17th-century London on a barge floating on the Thames is set ablaze in an event to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. Photo: AFP

Crowds gathered on the river banks to watch the 120-metre-long model go up in flames.

The inferno in September 1666 raged for four days, destroying most of the old walled city, which at that time was built almost entirely of wood.

The 120m-long wooden replica of old London - built by US "burn artist" David Best - was moored in the river to prevent the fire from spreading again.



Alt text:
    A replica of 17th-century London on a barge floating on the river Thames is set ablaze in an event to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.

Photo: AFP

The Great Fire of London broke out in Thomas Farrinor's bakery on Pudding Lane shortly after midnight on 2 September 1666 and gradually spread through the city before finally being extinguished on 5 September.

Various scapegoats, chiefly Catholics and foreigners, were blamed for the blaze that killed six people and caused the relocation of thousands.

The London of today, with its characteristic English Baroque architecture in grey Portland stone, was built from the ashes of the wooden city, though the old street layout was retained to respect property rights.

The final touches are made to the 120m-long wooden sculpture on 30 August as it is moored on the Thames.

Final touches are made to the 120m-long wooden sculpture on 30 August as it is moored on the Thames. Photo: AFP

- BBC / ABC