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Travelogue - Rebuilt 1667 (212.8) - Mark's Journal
Travelogue - Rebuilt 1667 (212.8)
One of the really striking things about my visit to London was the realization that virtually the entire city had to be reinvented in 1666-1667, after the London fire of 1666 decimated the city.

Ye Olde Cheshire CheeseAmong other things, The Monument is to commemorate the firefighters who tried in vain to stop the massive fire, but who managed to extinguish it after a few days and keep the death toll down. (The official count of six fatalities is regarded as improbable; deaths of lower- and even middle-class residents might never have been recorded, and some in the fire's path might have been incinerated beyond the point of recognizable remains.)

The result is that most of the central city of London dates to the late 17th century, coincidentally about the same time as much of the central urban development in Boston and New York City. A lot of buildings and businesses around London bear a "Founded 1667" or "Built 1667" or "Rebuilt 1667" legend. (It's interesting that most of London was rebuilt with the same narrow streets in the same pattern, even when that could've been avoided or improved upon. I guess wider streets were still pretty unimportant at that point.)

Wlliamson's Tavern, where we stopped for a quick pint on Wednesday evening, dates to shortly after the fire, though it wasn't a tavern at first. It's believed to currently hold the city's oldest excise license. But Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese seems to have been in continuous operation since 1667, and dates back before the fire, with a pub on that spot since 1538. Charles Dickens and a number of other literary figures frequented the place, and Dickens even immortalized it in "A Tale of Two Cities." We had a very good lunch there on Saturday.

( Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese photos... )
5 comments or Leave a comment
belmikey From: belmikey Date: September 16th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, this is one of the reasons that, when, Pixel, Edwin and I went to England last year, Edwin was not all that interested in spending a lot of time in London. The Tower is about the only thing in London that fits the historical periods he's interested in; everything else is too modern. So there's still a plan on the docket for Pixel and I to go back just for London.

Although, I have to admit, after I posted the long-delayed castle photos, I started hankering for a chance to clamber around castles again, too.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: September 16th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm enjoying the mental image of Edwin scoffing at 1667 buildings as "too modern."
belmikey From: belmikey Date: September 16th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, but they are, for him. His two ranges of interest are 1066-1300 (mostly 1100-1200) and the English Civil War -- the war per se, and not everything else going on around it.

The Tower, therefore, was perfect, because most of it was actually built during the time period he finds acceptable, and it includes an exhibit of arms and armour from the Civil War. But beyond that, London's just not very interesting ot him.

For me, modern London is interesting all by itself, and there are plenty of other surviving historical sites and museums to keep the amateur historian in me occupied as well, because my interest is more wide-ranging.
blueinatl From: blueinatl Date: September 17th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course you can find that age building in London (or very close), you just have to be willing to do quite a bit of research beforehand.

Then again, I love Modern London for what it is :-)
blueinatl From: blueinatl Date: September 17th, 2009 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)
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