Dickens and London

London's Burning: A City Transformed

A view of London at the time of the Great Fire of 1666, from a print by Visscher  


The City of London has been shaped by two disasters, the Great Fire of London of 1666 and the Blitz of World War II when German bombing set the City ablaze.

The Great Fire started in the early hours of Sunday 2 September in a baker's house near London Bridge and burned for four days.  It destroyed 436 acres, mostly within the City walls, 13,200 houses, 87 out of 109 churches, St Paulís Cathedral and many other buildings.  After the fire the great architect Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt St Paul's and 50 of City churches, and most of these magnificent buildings still grace the City today.  This walk tells the story of the fire.

The Blitz, named after the Blitzkrieg (lightening war) was a chapter in World War II.  Between 7 September 1940 and 11 May May 1941 German planes bombed London every night, and often also during the day.  Nearly 25, 000 people died in the Blitz and over 51,0000 civilians died throughout the war in London.  The bombing created opportunities as well as problems, and uncovered many Roman ruins.  This walk tells the story.

We start at 2pm on Thursdays and 11am on Sundays, meeting at the City Information Centre in St Paul's Churchyard.  The walk is led by  Susan Gane when advertised here, and a qualified City Guide at other times.  It will last one and half to two hours and end at the monument;  the cost is £7 per person, £6 concessions, with accompanied children under twelve free of charge.