In September 1666 fire destroyed most of the City of London. Consequently there is little that has survived from before that catastrophe. However, just as a fingerprint comes back after the skin has been damaged, London before the fire makes its presence felt clearly in today’s City.
Some pre-Fire buildings survive, as do areas of the old street layout. But there are many other echoes of Roman and medieval London in today’s City. They proclaim to the visitor its ancient roots which still pump life into this historic city.
Exploring London Before the Fire
As a medievalist by education (MA Medieval Studies and a PhD in Old English literature), I feel the resonances of pre-Fire London keenly. Many medieval moments intrude into my tours, but the following tours are set specifically in the pre-Fire period.
Before the Fire
Echoes of Shakespeare This creative evocation of Shakespeare’s City features readings not just from his plays, but also from his poetry to reflect the times in which he lived.
London Before the Make-Over This tour tunes into echoes of Plantagenet and Tudor London which resonate in today’s City. What’s more, it features two genuinely medieval buildings!
Much Ado About Trading With readings from plays produced at the time, this tour celebrates how Shakespeare and his contemporaries put the City of London on the stage. Hear of medieval and modern trading methods, and get a taster HERE.
A Queenly City Whether sovereign or consort, medieval England’s queens made their presence felt on history. This tour explores how Norman, Plantagenet and Tudor queens have left their mark on the City of London.
A Question of Supremacy This is the story of Henry VIII’s establishment of himself as Supreme Head of the English Church. It follows the fates, often grisly, of men at the heart of the matter. For a taster, follow the link HERE.
A Settlement Called Londinium This is an exploration of the growth of the Roman settlement which became London. It shows how a riverside settlement with no status grew to become the capital of the Roman province of Britannia.
Shakespeare for All in All A ‘companion to Shakespeare’ tour which considers aspects of the London where William Shakespeare built his career as poet, playwright and courtier.
And what about the Great Fire itself?
A Most Horrid Flame We follow the story of the catastrophe which destroyed the City of London, asking how a City used to fires could succumb to the flames.
Picture of the entrance to Charterhouse, Smithfield © 2016 Fayita Bonita