LONDON – It was almost 9 pm when a huge crowd gathered on the banks of the Thames, few metres away from the Blackfriars station, to watch the giant 120-metre-long wooden replica of 17th century London being set ablaze to celebrate the Great Fire which raged for four days in 1666, destroying most of London.
At that time, the whole city was mainly made of wood so it was almost completely destroyed. An estimated 70,000 of the 80,000 residents were left homeless by the disaster. The London we see today, with its English Baroque architecture, was built from what was left after the fire was estinguished.
The event was fascinating and unique: it was part of a festival held to commemorate the event, called London’s Burning. It went on from August 30th until September 4th and featured a series of installations, performances, talks and tour organized by the company Artichoke, including the projection of flames on to St Paul’s Cathedral – a monument which was destroyed during the Great Fire and was rebuilt and completed in the following 44 years.
The burning of the model was executed by US “burn artist” David Best and live streamed online.