On a particularly cold evening in January, a good number of Freemen, their families and friends enjoyed a wonderful talk from the comfort and warmth of their sitting rooms.
Antony Robbins Aka Mr Londoner, who has entertained us on a number of occasions previously, gave us a fascinating insight into the after effects of the Great Fire of London. As Antony pointed out, most of us probably knew about the origins of the fire from our school days but not many of us knew that Charles II organised one of the first large scale fundraisers to raise money for the poor and displaced residents of the City, leading to the setting up of a refugee camp in nearby Moorfields, at the time a large public park.
Although only a handful of deaths were recorded, the social and economic problems created by the disaster were overwhelming. The mood of the people after the fire was volatile and Charles feared a full-scale London rebellion against the monarchy. Charles II had an ambitious plan to rebuild the City in a grid system with grand piazzas and wide intersecting thoroughfares. However, Londoners carried on with life as it had been and the City was rebuilt along the ancient mediaeval lines and alleys. Antony outlined the legacy of the fire for us. The majority of the City's churches were rebuilt, the Monument to the Great Fire was erected, strict new fire regulations were imposed with organised firefighting services being developed as a result, building standards improved and the first insurance companies emerged.
Thank you Antony, for a very informative evening.