Channel 5 relive the Great Fire of London.
Next week, Channel 5 is to air a three part special looking at how the Great Fire of London devastated the capital.
Stripped over three consecutive nights, Dan Jones, Suzannah Lipscomb and Rob Bell tell the story of the blaze which raged across the city becoming Britain’s worst inferno. The trio take a fresh look at the events in an hour by hour, street by street, account of what was happening as the fire began to take control of London in the series entitled The Great Fire.
Historians Jones and Lipscomb along with engineer Bell explore what really happened, looking at documented facts as well as, Channel 5 note, new evidence. The fire was a catastrophe for residents of the capital, and beyond. IT destroyed almost every building inside London’s city walls. 350 years on we have all heard of the Great Fire of London, but what do we really know about the timeline of events on that September day back in 1666?
In episode one, London Burns, Channel 5 will investigate how the inferno began, in a bakers near Pudding Lane. The exact spot was lost for centuries, however it was more recently rediscovered in what the broadcaster call a remarkable piece of modern detective work by Dorian Gerhold. Using rediscovered ancient plans of the buildings on Pudding Lane, and the surrounding area, and matching them with historic maps, they combined pinpoint exactly where the fire began. In the show Dan Jones and Dorian Gerhold place a ‘blue plaque’ on the spot of the incident.
Dan then walks the route of the fire’s first hours, as it fatally makes its way to the warehouses by the River Thames, becoming completely unstoppable only a few streets from where it started. The city blaze caused £37 billion worth of damage to property and possessions. Suzannah Lipscomb unearths the efforts of Londoners as they struggled to save their belongings and examines the remaining artifacts salvaged from the fire by archaeologists.
Suzannah also looks at the human cost to the incident as she follows the lives of three London residents, who all live in different parts of the city, but who found themselves in the direct path of the blaze, which tragically changed their lives for the rest of their days.
Rob uses new research to discover why the city at the time of the Great Fire was a tinderbox waiting to ignite. He uses state of the art technology to examine the flammability of the 17th century building materials. The programme also looks at how the weather at the time created the perfect conditions for the disaster to take hold.
The second episode, Death and Destruction, looks at the worst day of the fire’s four-day rampage, which saw the city’s magnificent medieval structures, including the recently renovated St Paul’s Cathedral, reduced to rubble. The episode also looks at who was being blamed for the incident, and how the bakery owner passed the blame, as well as how the fire continued to spread.
In the third and final instalment, A City Rebuilt, Dan, Suzannah and Rob walk the route of the fire as it heads towards it conclusion and The Tower of London. The programme shows how desparate mesures were taken to bring the fire under some sort of control while also looking at how victims burns were treated in 1666. Channel 5 also look at how many could really have died in the incident, the official figure was only six, but was that really the case? The Great Fire also looks at the aftermath and how London was rebuilt.