petrusplancius (petrusplancius) wrote,

Fires in London

John Constable: the great fire in London in 1834, as seen from Hampstead Heath. This was the fire that destroyed the old Palace of Westminster, as portrayed so memorably by Turner.

Turner, the fire at the Tower of London in 1841, in which the Crown Jewels came close to being destroyed:

" On the night of the October 30, 1841, at 10:30 pm, a fire started because of an overheated flue in the Bowyer Tower. Thirty minutes later, the Bowyer Tower was almost completely destroyed, and the fire had spread to the armories and storehouse to the east of the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula. By midnight the armories were burning so furiously that the heat caused the lead pipes to melt on the walls of the Great Tower. The Brick Tower then caught fire, and flames threaten to burn Martin Tower where the Crown Jewels of England were kept. The Keeper of the Jewel House only had the key to the outer room (the Lord Chamberlain had the other keys). Water was sprayed on the walls of Martin Tower as firemen tried to keep the walls cooled down until the Crown Jewels could be removed. One firemen was killed when he was hit by a piece of falling stone. Using crowbars, policemen bent back the bars from in front of the Crown Jewels. A brave policeman handed out the Crown Jewels piece by piece. He did not leave, even though his uniform was charred from the heat, until everything, except a silver font which would not fit through the bars, had been saved. The fire was finally under control at 3:15 am, but the two armories, storehouse, Bowyer Tower, and the Brick Tower were destroyed, and both the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula and the Great Tower (White Tower) were badly damaged. The Duke of Wellington was Tower Constable at the time of the fire (he was appointed in 1826), and with the help of Prince Albert, Wellington spearheaded a campaign to get government funds to restore and rebuild the Tower of London. This massive project lasted throughout the rest of the 19th century. "

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