Sir Martin James Moore-Bick

What to do in the event of fire?

Grenfell Tower and the history of high rise living

The Hindenburg on fire 1937 The Hindenburg on fire 1937 The Great Fire of London, 1666, destroyed about 80% of the city, some 13,000 buildings, but records show only 6 people were killed and we have no reason to dispute this number. This is remarkable as there was considerable panic. So what did the 'authorities' do about it? Well nothing, as a there was no concept of civic authority as we know it now. But King Charles 11 took charge and, directing the crowd, tried first to quell the fire then to create a fire break. This was done by demolition at one point using gunpowder to bring buildings down. All efforts failed but after four days the fire burnt itself out. So were lessons learned? Oh yes! The original buildings relied on timber construction while their replacements used more masonry. Also streets rather than having a haphazard layout were planned and became wider. Over a very long period the city was rebuilt with much of the credit for the architecture going to Sir Christopher Wren. This work gave rise to both architectural and technical standards which were either equalled or bettered along the way. The Victorians made a huge contribution to London which, despite the passing years, still contributes much to the aesthetic tone of the city. However, following the destruction caused by WW2, which was far greater than that of WW1,there was a rebuilding phase.

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