A burning replica of 17th-century London, floated on a barge on the city’s River Thames to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London on Sunday.
The 1666 inferno destroyed most of the walled inner city dating back to Roman times — a bustling, congested maze of tightly packed wooden houses. It forced London to rebuild anew from the ashes.
The burning of London 1666 marked the grand finale of the London’s Burning festival.
The 120-metre-long wooden sculpture, simply named London 1666, was placed on the River Thames days before the actual event, making it possible for the public to get a look at the replica before it was set afire. The sculpture was designed by U.S. artist David Best and made up part of the larger London’s Burning festival commemorating the Great Fire.
The Fire Garden was one of many London’s Burning events.
Street theatre organization Compagnie Carabosse lit candles, flowerpots and metal structures in front of the Tate Modern art gallery as part of the London’s Burning festival’s Fire Garden event on Sept. 1. The Fire Garden also played host to live music.
Tourist attractions like St Paul’s Cathedral also participated in the festival.
Flames were projected onto St. Paul’s Cathedral to mark the event, and it performed a rehearsal of the projection on Aug. 30. The original St Paul’s Cathedral was one of the many buildings destroyed by the Great Fire of London, and the current cathedral is one of London’s most recognized buildings.
According to the London Fire Brigade, the Great Fire of London started on Sept. 2, 1666. As buildings were built closely together and were made of timber, the fire was able to spread easily. A drought caused by a dry summer and strong winds also made it possible for the fire to do significant damage.
The official death toll was just six people, but it is believed many others died due to indirect causes. The fire was stopped days later on Sept. 6 by blowing up houses in the fire’s path to give it space to stop.
Ultimately, over 13,000 homes were destroyed by the fire.