This year, City Corporation has come together to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London. Destroying most of the Square Mile and bringing down more than 13,000 homes, this commemorative occasion not only laments the devastating impacts of the fire but has also given opportunity for modern reflection on life in 17th century London and the key event which led to large scale reconstruction.
The central point of the series took place from 30th August-4th September and was entitled London’s Burning. Through creative vision and metaphorical depictions, London’s Burning was expertly designed to highlight the catastrophic moment that had a long-standing impact on the architecture, outlook and infrastructure of the City of London. The central commemoration of Great Fire 350 culminated in a spectacular finale as a 120-meter representation of the 17th century London skyline was set alight on the River Thames on Sunday. Onlookers experienced first-hand the harsh reality of the Great Fire on the backdrop of London as it stands today. From Wednesday 31st and continuing across the weekend, Martin Firrell’s instillation of Fires London lit up iconic buildings either side of the River. Fires Modern was projected onto the flytower of the National Theatre’s iconic Grade II listed building revealing stories of the resurgence and change that have shaped the capital city. Across the River, Fires Ancient was showcased which saw the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral lit up with a fiery projection encompassing both the devastating impact that the Great Fire had, along with the rise of the building in its current form, which grew from the ashes and is designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Grange Hotels were proud to be part of the commemoration, opening up our St. Paul’s Sky Bar to guest offering a unique perspective and uninterrupted, stunning views of the artistic representation.
As well as fiery depictions, London’s Burning also showcased unique representations which brought to life the frenzy and devastation that the fire caused. Particularly noteworthy as part of the central London’s Burning showcase was a performance led by theatre group Stan’s Café, presenting Of All The People in All The World. Using grains of rice, the troupe came together in the Inner Temple under the watchful portraits of four of the five Fire Judges appointed by King Charles to adjudicate on compensation claims after the fire. Piles of rice represented the supposed death toll, the number of people displaced by the fire and crucially the bakery on Pudding Lane where the fire started.
Great Fire 350 is putting on a series of walks, talks, exhibitions and displays throughout the city, running projects until November. Grange Hotels are honoured to participate in the City Corporation’s on-going series of Great Fire 350. As part of the programme, Grange Hotels have introduced a range of offers in our spas, restaurants and salons. To make the most of these opportunities, please visit our exclusive offer page here for more details.