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ENGLAND
Samuel Pepys
Elizabeth I
London's Underworld
Fleet Marriages.
The Cries of London
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London ... takes a lot of understanding. It's a great place. Immense. The richest town in the world, the biggest port, the greatest manufacturing town, the Imperial city - the centre of civilisation, the heart of the world.

-- H G Wells, 1909



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London DisastersLondon Fires: Cotton's Wharf
Posted by Bill McCann on (441 Reads)
"No such fire has been known in London since the Fire of 1666: which, by the way, began at a spot exactly opposite this. Two millions, at least, of property destroyed: near eleven acres of ruin: many lives lost, among them the chief of the Fire Brigade."



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London DisastersLondon Fires: The Blitz VI
Posted by Bill McCann on (486 Reads)
For fifty-seven successive days and nights between September and November 1940, London was repeatedly bombed by the Nazi Luftwaffe. For the following six months, she continued to be bombed frequently and heavily. This was the Blitz. More than 20,000 Londoners lost their lives and hundreds of thousands men women and children were injured as the city was in many places reduced to a smoking ruin. In his celebrated account of that winter, Constantine Fitzgibbon recorded the first-hand accounts of some of the Londoners who experienced the terror of the fires that engulfed their lives in the first days of the Blitz. In the final article of this short series we learn of the first terrible, useless, tragedy of the Blitz.



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London DisastersLondon Fires: The Blitz V
Posted by Bill McCann on (350 Reads)
For fifty-seven successive days and nights between September and November 1940, London was repeatedly bombed by the Nazi Luftwaffe. For the following six months, she continued to be bombed frequently and heavily. This was the Blitz. More than 20,000 Londoners lost their lives and hundreds of thousands men women and children were injured as the city was in many places reduced to a smoking ruin. In his celebrated account of that winter, Constantine Fitzgibbon recorded the first-hand accounts of some of the Londoners who experienced the terror of the fires that engulfed their lives in the first days of the Blitz. In this short series we will attempt to re-capture the terror and stoicism of Londoners during that long winter. And, with the help of the great Winston Churchill, try to frame it in the overall dark and terrible context that confronted his government as Britain "stood alone" in the face of the Nazi evil engulfing Europe.



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London DisastersLondon Fires: The Blitz IV
Posted by Bill McCann on (531 Reads)
For fifty-seven successive days and nights between September and November 1940, London was repeatedly bombed by the Nazi Luftwaffe. For the following six months, she continued to be bombed frequently and heavily. This was the Blitz. More than 20,000 Londoners lost their lives and hundreds of thousands men women and children were injured as the city was in many places reduced to a smoking ruin. In his celebrated account of that winter, Constantine Fitzgibbon recorded the first-hand accounts of some of the Londoners who experienced the terror of the fires that engulfed their lives in the first days of the Blitz. In this short series we will attempt to re-capture the terror and stoicism of Londoners during that long winter. And, with the help of the great Winston Churchill, try to frame it in the overall dark and terrible context that confronted his government as Britain "stood alone" in the face of the Nazi evil engulfing Europe.



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London DisastersLondon Fires: The Blitz III
Posted by Bill McCann on (659 Reads)
For fifty-seven successive days and nights between September and November 1940, London was repeatedly bombed by the Nazi Luftwaffe. For the following six months, she continued to be bombed frequently and heavily. This was the Blitz. More than 20,000 Londoners lost their lives and hundreds of thousands men women and children were injured as the city was in many places reduced to a smoking ruin. In his celebrated account of that winter, Constantine Fitzgibbon recorded the first-hand accounts of some of the Londoners who experienced the terror of the fires that engulfed their lives in the first days of the Blitz. In this short series we will attempt to re-capture the terror and stoicism of Londoners during that long winter. And, with the help of the great Winston Churchill, try to frame it in the overall dark and terrible context that confronted his government as Britain "stood alone" in the face of the Nazi evil engulfing Europe.



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London DisastersLondon Fires: The Blitz II
Posted by Bill McCann on (493 Reads)
For fifty-seven successive days and nights between September and November 1940, London was repeatedly bombed by the Nazi Luftwaffe. For the following six months, she continued to be bombed frequently and heavily. This was the Blitz. More than 20,000 Londoners lost their lives and hundreds of thousands men women and children were injured as the city was in many places reduced to a smoking ruin. In his celebrated account of that winter, Constantine Fitzgibbon recorded the first-hand accounts of some of the Londoners who experienced the terror of the fires that engulfed their lives in the first days of the Blitz. In this short series we will attempt to re-capture the terror and stoicism of Londoners during that long winter. And, with the help of the great Winston Churchill, try to frame it in the overall dark and terrible context that confronted his government as Britain "stood alone" in the face of the Nazi evil engulfing Europe.



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London DisastersLondon Fires: The Blitz: I
Posted by Bill McCann on (669 Reads)
For fifty-seven successive days and nights between September and November 1940, London was repeatedly bombed by the Nazi Luftwaffe. For the following six months, she continued to be bombed frequently and heavily. This was the Blitz. More than 20,000 Londoners lost their lives and hundreds of thousands men women and children were injured as the city was in many places reduced to a smoking ruin. In his celebrated account of that winter, Constantine Fitzgibbon recorded the first-hand accounts of some of the Londoners who experienced the terror of the fires that engulfed their lives in the first days of the Blitz. In this short series we will attempt to re-capture the terror and stoicism of Londoners during that long winter. And, with the help of the great Winston Churchill, try to frame it in the overall dark and terrible context that confronted his government as Britain "stood alone" in the face of the Nazi evil engulfing Europe.



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London DisastersLondon's Fires - The Metropolitan Fire Brigade: IV
Posted by Bill McCann on (493 Reads)
In the final instalment of our article on the work of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, our reporter visits the office of the fajmous Captain Shaw, the indomitable leader of the metropolitan fire Brigade. To his great disappointment, the Captain has slipped out. He has, however, a good look around the great man's office and is soon appraised of the details of the fires attended in the previous year and the career structure of the Brigade and the rates of pay for the firemen of the fourth class and the superintendents.



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London DisastersLondon Fires - The Metropolitan Fire Brigade III
Posted by Bill McCann on (399 Reads)
In the third instalment of our article on the work of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, our reporter tells us why sailors make better firemen than landsmen, muses on the varied history of the Bishop of Winchester's palace, and visits the sad little museum to the heroes that died fighting London's fires. Having being thrilled by a "turn-out" he hopes to interview the famous leader of he Brigade Captain Shaw.



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London DisastersLondon Fires - The Metropolitan Fire Brigade: II
Posted by Bill McCann on (313 Reads)
In the second instalment of our article on the work of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, our reporter begins his tour of the Brigade the headquarters at Winchester House in Southwark. He introduces us to the ingenious methods for opening the fire station doors on "a second and a half" and the different methods of carrying rescued male and female persons down the escape ladder so that a lady's modesty is protected.



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London DisastersLondon Fires- The Metropolitan Fire Brigade: I
Posted by Bill McCann on (365 Reads)
We continue our series on London's fires with a look at the people whose job it was to fight the frequent and sporadic conflagrations in the Victorian capital. In the 1890s, the Strand magazine published a detailed article on the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and its formidable commander Captain Shaw. Between now and Christmas we will upload this in a series of instalments. Having witnessed a daring rescue of a woman and child by two members of the Brigade, our reporter decides to visit the Brigade's headquarters and investigate the workings of this great institution. In the first instalment we witness the rescue at first-hand and are then introduced to the headquarters at Winchester House in Southwark.



Note: Scans of thre illustrations which accompanied the article will be uploaded in due course.

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London DisastersLondon Fires
Posted by Bill McCann on (540 Reads)
The following article from "The Leisure Hour - A Family Journal of Instruction and Recreation" appeared in issue No. 104 on Thursday, December 22, 1853. It gives us an exhaustive list of the causes of the 923 fires recorded in London in 1852. Perhaps the most startling cause was that of the Lucifer-matches ignited by a cat!

Note: The original article referred to the cat as "Pussy" but this has fallen foul of some browsers who seek to protect the modern sensibilities and rendered it as ***** so I have edited it to "Puss" which should pass - I think.
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London DisastersThe Silvertown Explosion
Posted by Bill McCann on (1001 Reads)
At 18:52 on the evening of January 19th 1917, the largest explosion ever to have taken place in the London area destroyed a large area in Silvertown on the East End. The resulting shock wave was felt across the city and the county of Essex. The explosion was so large that it was heard as far away as Southampton on the south coast and in Norwich in the north-east of England. The glare from the resulting fires could be seen as far away as Maidstone in Kent and Guildford in Surrey. The explosion was so huge that red hot lumps of metal rained down on the surrounding areas and started fires for miles around. Seventy three people lost their lives, more than four hundred were injured and thousands were left homeless.

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London DisastersEarthquakes in London
Posted by Bill McCann on (3031 Reads)
It comes as a surprise to most people to learn that London is susceptible to earthquakes. There have been many tremors of varying strength over the centuries and these are chronicled here. The effects of two in the 14th century posed a dilemma for the bishops of the time and for archaeologists and site contractors in the late 20th century! This is the story.

Note: Bibliography

1. Meldola, R and White, W, 1885, Report on the East Anglian Earthquake, p. 183 quoted in reference 2 page 559.
2. Woodward, H B, 1887, The Geology of England and Wales, London.
3. Monkhouse, F J, 1954, Principles of Physical Geography, University of London Press.
4. Stamp, L D, 1946, Britain's Structure and Scenery, London.5. Sherlock, R L, 1960, British Regional Geology: London and Thames Valley, HMSO London.

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